The cost of money remains at a six-decade low after the European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged.
The benchmark refinancing rate for the 12 member states of the eurozone stays at just 2 percent as the ECB’s Governing Council meeting in Frankfurt decided that rising unemployment was restraining consumer spending and keeping inflation low.
Experts believe the interest rate is likely to rise at some point this year, probably in the second half, but for the moment ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet remains moderately upbeat.
He told reporters that “the conditions remain in place for economic growth to pick up and become more self-sustained in the course of the year.”
Trichet noted that “global growth remains solid, providing a favourable environment for euro area export. On the domestic side, investment is expected to continue to benefit from very favourable financing conditions, improved earnings and greater business efficiency.”
The stability of the Eurozone rate contrasts with the quarter-point increase in US interest rates announced by the Federal Reserve on Wednesday.
The rise, the sixth in eight months, reflects strong US growth with a possible risk of inflation.