Big US banks raise their prime rates

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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