The People's Bank of China (PBOC) cut a key lending rate Sunday -- the third such cut since November -- in a bid to spur slowing growth. The central bank reduced benchmark lending rates by 25 basis points to 5.1 percent.

The bank also brought down one-year benchmark deposit rates by 25 basis points, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported, citing a PBOC statement. The changes will be effective on May 11, the report said, adding that the move was aimed at aiding a "healthy development of the economy."

China’s economy grew by 7 percent in the first quarter of the year, its slowest growth rate since the first quarter of 2009, at the start of the global financial crisis. The latest GDP figures, announced in April by China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), represented a sharp fall from the 7.3 percent growth clocked in the final quarter of 2014, and confirmed predictions of a slowdown, caused in part by a drop in exports and a slump in investments linked to the real estate market.

The Chinese government is reportedly trying several measures to kickstart the economyLate last month, the PBOC was reported to be planning to launch its own version of quantitative easing, which would boost liquidity in the system. 

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang spoke up earlier this week against red tape and bureaucracy in government, blaming officials for being “too slow” in implementing certain measures aimed at spurring domestic demand. 

The last such move by the central bank, the SCMP reported, was on Feb. 28 when it brought down one-year benchmark lending rates by 25 basis points to 5.35 percent, and reduced one-year benchmark deposit rates by 25 basis points to 2.5 percent.