3 Oct 2008

Eurozone rates held at 4.25%

8:40 am on 3 October 2008

The European Central Bank has kept its key interest rate on hold at 4.25%, resisting pressure for a rate cut.

Eurozone inflation fell to 3.6% in September, but it is still well above the 2% target.

Inflation was at a record 4% in July and August and the ECB raised interest rates to a seven year high in July.

ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet said on Thursday that a quarter-point interest rate cut had been considered, but there had been a unanimous vote against it.

He added that the risk to economic growth had increased and that economic activity was weakening.

Mr Trichet said that the effects of the banking crisis had yet to feed through into economic data.

But he also said it was important for the ECB to keep inflationary expectations down.

Last week, Ireland became the eurozone's first economy to be formally in recession.

There is concern that the problems facing Europe's banks could send other economies into recession.

The ECB has been lending billions of euros to banks in an attempt to ease the credit crisis.

Trichet said the ECB's decision to do so had helped the bank to regain control of market inflation expectations, which had risen as inflation surged to a record 4 percent in July and August.