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Euro zone inflation slowed more than expected in April, an early estimate showed, but economic sentiment also deteriorated faster than forecast, pointing to slowing economic growth.
The European Central Bank has to ask itself each month whether a rate rise is needed to control inflation, ECB Governing Council member Yves Mersch was quoted as saying in a newspaper report on Tuesday.
Wage and fiscal policy in the euro zone could buoy inflation and the European Central Bank may need to act on interest rates, ECB policymaker Axel Weber said in a newspaper interview released on Saturday.
The euro cannot replace the dollar as the world's main reserve currency, and a system of two reserve currencies would be unstable, billionaire investor George Soros said on Thursday.
Surging energy and food prices pushed euro zone inflation to a new high of 3.6 percent in March, boosting the euro to a record high against the dollar on fading chances of a ECB rate cut in the near term.
The Dow and S&P 500 snapped a two-day losing streak Thursday, led by technology stocks after an upgrade on the chip sector.
Stocks advanced Thursday, helped by an upgrade on the chip sector and increased forecasts from two Dow components.
European stocks ended lower for the third straight session on Thursday but well off the day's lows as strong gains on Wall Street sparked a late recovery, eclipsing fears of more asset writedowns in the banking sector.
Stocks opened higher Thursday after a better-than-expected report on jobless claims, and raised outlooks from Dow components DuPont and Wal-Mart.
The European Central Bank kept rates on hold at 4 percent, as expected, on Thursday, sticking to its mandate to fight inflation at any cost. Economists now think the possibility of monetary easing is more likely as late as the fourth quarter.
Wall Street banks are the first to be blamed for the credit crunch. Central banks come a close second, but as the Federal Reserve's image is suffering, the European Central Bank looks as solid as a rock.
The European Central Bank's mission to fight inflation prevents it from worrying about economic weakness. But an abrupt slowdown could anger politicians and endanger the central bank's very mandate.
Deepening concern over the state of the U.S. economy and its impact on Europe will lead to further uncertainty in European stock markets next week, as investors look to interest-rate decisions from major central banks for reassurance.
The $19 billlion writedown at UBS has cheered some investors who think that the worst of the credit crunch is now over. But the European Central Bank still faces the prospect of falling growth and rising prices.
Euro zone manufacturing activity cooled in March, but there was the biggest growth split among leading economies in seven years, while price pressures spiralled higher, a survey showed on Tuesday.
A look at the data and happenings that shaped the first quarter for European businesses and markets.
After a dismal first quarter, investors look forward to what the spring has in store; but apart from a new gold rush and the euro rising further, there seems to be little to anticipate.
The central banks of Britain and Switzerland added extra funds to ease pressure on high interbank lending rates on Thursday, while the European Central Bank said it was ready to step in with extra cash.
Top central bankers warned on Wednesday there was no end in sight yet to the global credit crunch as German banking giant Deutsche said the crisis threatened its profit target for this year.
The European Central Bank is watching currency markets very closely, Vice President Lucas Papademos said in comments released on Tuesday.