The Malta Independent 7 June 2023, Wednesday
View E-Paper

Europe's central bank backs big rate hike despite bank chaos

Associated Press Thursday, 16 March 2023, 14:27 Last update: about 4 months ago

The European Central Bank has carried through with a large interest rate increase Thursday, brushing aside predictions it might dial back as U.S. bank collapses and troubles at Credit Suisse fed fears about the impact of higher rates on the global banking system.

The ECB hiked rates by half a percentage point Thursday, underlining its determination to fight high inflation. In a post-meeting statement, the bank called the banking sector in the 20 countries using the euro currency “resilient,” with strong finances.

It says it's “monitoring current market tensions closely and stands ready to respond as necessary to preserve price stability and financial stability in the euro area.”

ECB head Christine Lagarde said last week that it was “very likely” the bank would raise its benchmarks by a half-percentage point, part of a series of rapid rate hikes aimed at getting inflation down from 8.5% — far above the bank’s target of 2%.

That was before Silicon Valley Bank in the U.S. went under last week after suffering losses on government-backed bonds that fell in value due to rising interest rates. Then, globally connected Swiss bank Credit Suisse saw its shares plunge this week and had to turn to the Swiss central bank for emergency credit.

  • don't miss