Of the three, the surprise move was from Beijing which lowered its lending rate by 31 basis points to 6% following an interest rate cut just a month ago that also came out of the blue.
The European Central Bank cut rates to a record low 0.75% following a dire run of economic data. But it steered clear of bolder moves such as reviving its government bond-buying programme or flooding banks with more long-term liquidity.
The Bank of England, whose rates are already at a record low 0.5%, said it would restart its printing presses and buy 50 billion pounds of assets with newly created money to help the economy out of recession.
"It is a surprise that they are moving so quickly. It shows that policymakers' concerns about the global economy have only grown," Mark Williams, an economist at Capital Economics in London, said of the People's Bank of China's action.
A raft of Chinese data is due next week, including second-quarter gross domestic product that officials may know to be poor, he said. But they may also be trying to foster suggestions of acting in concert.
"Policymakers may have felt that cutting rates on the day that the ECB [did] the same would deliver a bigger impact, encouraging talk of a coordinated response to the slowdown in the global economy," Williams said. "Again, though, this might simply underline the seriousness of the downside risks."
Not a coordinated move
In Frankfurt, ECB President Mario Draghi denied any globally coordinated central bank action of the sort seen after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.
"On coordination, no, there wasn't any ... that went beyond the normal exchange of views on the state of the business cycle, on the state of the economy, and on the state of global demand," he told a news conference.
Asked if conditions were now as bad as they were in late 2008 when the world's financial system was teetering, Draghi replied: "Definitely not."
The action puts even more focus on what the U.S. Federal Reserve will do when it holds its next meeting on July 31 and August 1. The Bank of Japan meets next week.
Last month, the Fed held off on another round of bond-buying but its chief, Ben Bernanke, said there was "considerable scope to do more."
In recent weeks, economic evidence from Asia, Europe and the United States has pointed to a world economy running out of steam.
Meanwhile the Danish central bank, nationalbanken, cut interest rates by 25 basis points on Thursday following the ECB, putting one of its secondary rates below zero for the first time in history.
Nationalbanken cut its lending rate to 0.20% from 0.45% and lowered its certificates of deposit (CD) rate to negative 0.20% from 0.05% to match the ECB’s move.
With negative rates, banks would have to pay if they want to deposit money at the Danish central bank.