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April 8, 2010    

Euro zone interest rates on hold at 1%

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by Kay Murchie

The European Central Bank (ECB) today elected to keep interest rates on hold at the historic low of 1% for the eleventh consecutive month, as widely expected.

Interest rates are expected to remain on hold until at least 2011, as a result of uneven growth and low inflation.

The news comes after the Bank of England elected to keep interest rates at the historic low of 0.5% - the 13th consecutive month that rates have been at this level.

In the meantime, Eurostat today revealed retail sales in the euro zone fell again in February, highlighting the fragility of the economic recovery.

Sales fell 0.6% compared with the previous month - worse than analysts expectations and represented a fall of 1.1% compared with a year earlier.

Analysts attributed the fall to a lack of confidence among consumers after it was announced the rate of unemployment in the euro zone reached 10% - the first time it has reached this level since the common currency was introduced.

Furthermore, official figures revealed earlier this week that the economy stagnated during the three month period with a rate of 0%, revised down from the previously estimated 0.1%.

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