The Federal Reserve Board’s Federal Open Market Committee cut its short-term interest rate by a half of a percentage point today to 4.75 percent.

According to the committee, the tightening of credit conditions has the potential to intensify the housing correction and to restrain economic growth more generally.

The committee said today’s rate cut is intended to help forestall some of the adverse effects on the broader economy that might otherwise arise from the disruptions in financial markets and to promote moderate growth over time.

The cut to the federal funds rate is the first since June 2003.

In a related action, the Board of Governors also unanimously approved a 50-basis-point decrease in the discount rate to 5.25 percent. The discount rate is the rate banks pay to borrow directly from the Federal Reserve.