Big US banks raise their prime rates

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The nation's big banks boosted their prime lending rates Wednesday, as higher rates in the money markets pushed up banks' costs of acquiring funds.

Chase Manhattan Bank led the half-percentage-point rise to 17 percent, from 161/2, in the base rate on bank loans to businesses. Other big banks, including Bank of America and Citibank, followed suit.

The prime slid from a 1981 high of 20 1/2 percent last summer to a 1981 low of 15 3/4 percent Dec. 1. Wall Street economists have attributed much of the rise to credit tightening by the Federal Reserve Board.

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