China unexpectedly cut benchmark interest rates Thursday in the second such move in less than a month as the world's No. 2 economy seeks to reverse a slowdown.

The People's Bank of China said that effective Friday it will cut the one-year lending rate by 0.31 percentage point and the one-year deposit rate by 0.25 percentage point. Further, lending rates will be allowed to fall to 70 percent from their current 80 percent level.

The central bank last cut interest rates on June 7.