WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's central bank has lowered its main interest rate by half a percentage point to stimulate the economy and nudge up inflation.

The Monetary Policy Council of the National Bank of Poland said Wednesday it had lowered the reference rate to 2 percent from 2.5 percent.

It was the first cut to interest rates since July 2013 and comes at a time of a broader economic slowdown in Europe.

Economists were not expecting such a large cut on Wednesday, but said it would help domestic demand fuel economic growth. The finance ministry expects growth of 3.3 percent this year, compared with 1.6 percent last year.