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News : EU Economy Last Updated: Jun 10, 2011 - 7:04 AM

European Central Bank keeps benchmark rate on hold at 1.25%; Bank of England keeps rate at 0.5% - - a 1694-year low
By Finfacts Team
Jun 9, 2011 - 1:05 PM

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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 kept its benchmark interest rate on hold at 1.25%, at a meeting of the governing council in Frankfurt, today. In London, the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee kept the benchmark rate at 0.5% - -  the lowest since the central bank was founded in 1694.

The ECB president, Jean-Claude Trichet, will address a press conference from 1:30 pm and he is expected to escalate his warnings of the threat of inflation and also to deal with the Greek crisis.

Eurozone annual inflation is expected to be 2.7% in May 2011 according to a flash estimate issued last week by Eurostat, the statistics office of the European Union. It was 2.8% in April.

The ECB's target of
"below but close to 2%."

The German government proposed that Greece offer all holders of its sovereign bonds a 7-year extension of maturities as a condition of more financial aid from the EU's rescue fund, Wolfgang Schäuble, finance minister, said in a letter to his European Union colleagues,  the International Monetary Fund and the ECB, which was published on Wednesday.

In London, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee today voted to maintain the official bank rate at 0.5%. The Committee also voted to maintain the stock of asset purchases/bond buying financed by the issuance of central bank reserves at £200bn.

The minutes of the meeting will be published at 9.30am on Wednesday June 22.

The previous change in the rate was a reduction of 0.5 percentage points to 0.5% on 5 March 2009. A programme of asset purchases financed by the issuance of central bank reserves was initiated on  March 5, 2009. The most recent change in the size of that programme was an increase of £25bn to a total of £200bn on November 5, 2009.

Live Webcast (recording after 3pm).

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