|An image of the planned new headquarters of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet layed the foundation stone on May 19, 2010. The €850m headquarters will consist of two towers—one 41 floors high and the other 44 floors—joined by a massive conference and visitor centre where a historic fruit-and-vegetable market once stood. It will be completed in 2014. Trichet's eight-year term expires in October 2011.|
The European Central Bank (ECB) as expected
raised its benchmark interest rate from 1.0% to 1.25%, at a meeting of the
governing council in Frankfurt, today. In London, the Bank of England kept its
rate on hold at 0.5% -- the lowest since it was founded in 1694.
It was the first ECB rate rise since July
2008, when the rate was hiked to 4.25% and subsequently cut in a series that
ended at 1% in May 2009.
Trichet flagged the move on March 3 when he warned that "strong vigilance"
was needed on inflation. At his press conference, he said a possible rate this
month is "certainly not the start of a series.”
Eurozone annual inflation hit 2.6% in March
compared with the ECB's target of "below but close to
ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet will address a
press conference from 1:30 pm Irish time.
In London, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy
Committee today voted to maintain the official bank rate paid at 0.5%. The
Committee also voted to maintain the stock of asset purchases financed by the
issuance of central bank reserves at £200bn - - purchases of sovereign
bonds known as quantitative easing.
The minutes of the meeting will be published at
9.30am on Wednesday 20 April.
The previous change in bank rate was a reduction
of 0.5 percentage points to 0.5% on 5 March 2009. The programme of asset
purchases financed by the issuance of central bank reserves was initiated on 5
March 2009. The most recent change in the size of that programme was an increase
of £25bn to a total of £200bn on 5 November 2009.
The Bank said it will continue to offer to
purchase high-quality private sector assets on behalf of the Treasury, financed
by the issue of Treasury bills, in line with the arrangements announced on 29