Euro zone price pressures are "alarmingly high," threatening medium-term price stability, and first quarter growth in the bloc could exceed expectations, European Central Bank officials said on Friday.
The interbank cost of borrowing three-month dollar, sterling and euro funds rose on Tuesday, according to the British Bankers Association's latest daily fixing, despite central banks continuing to pump funds into the money market.
The European Central Bank lent euro zone banks an extra 15 billion euros on Thursday to tide them over the Easter holiday period, although banks bid for four times as much.
China's Ping An Insurance Co deepened its ties with Belgian-Dutch financial group Fortis on Wednesday by buying half its asset management business for 2.15 billion euros ($3.4 billion).
European Central Bank Executive Board members stressed on Tuesday the role of the ECB as a guardian of price stability, giving the strong euro only scant mention.
Financial trading and interbank lending almost ground to a halt on Monday as banks grew fearful of dealing with each other following Friday's near collapse of U.S. investment firm Bear Stearns, prompting talk of another round of coordinated central bank aid.
Euro zone inflation hit a new record high of 3.3 percent in February, the European Union's statistics office said, with soaring oil prices taking their toll despite the cushion of a strong euro.
European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said disorderly swings in currencies were undesirable, according to an interview with a French magazine published on Thursday.
European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said on Monday that the bank is currently concerned about excessive movements in currency exchange rates which are undesirable for economic growth.
Central bankers from the world's industrialised and developing regions voiced concern on Friday over surging food and energy prices, their latest big challenge as globalisation unsettles the balance of supply and demand.
The European Central Bank's surplus fell to 286 million euros ($439 million) last year from 1.37 billion euros in 2006, because of the euro's strength, the bank said on Thursday.
The European Central Bank and the Bank of England are likely to keep interest rates unchanged at their meetings on Thursday but monetary policy easing is on the cards for later, analysts and dealers expect.
Quarterly euro zone economic growth almost halved in the last three months of 2007 and prices at factory gates jumped in January, data showed, highlighting the diverging growth and inflation trends faced by the ECB.
Euro zone inflation remained at a record high in February, the European Union's statistics office estimated on Monday, ahead of the European Central Bank's rate meeting and new growth and inflation forecasts on Thursday.
Market expectations that the European Central Bank will cut interest rates fail to consider the dangers of higher inflation, ECB Governing Council member Axel Weber said on Wednesday.
The euro's exchange rate is shaped by the market but excessive volatility is unwelcome, EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said on Wednesday as the euro hit record highs against the dollar.
The week started and finished with news of the nationalization of British troubled bank Northern Rock, ending a five-month period of uncertainty about the bank’s future. In between, results from banks caused investors ecstasy or agony.
Volatility will continue to be the name of the game in European stock markets next week, as jittery investors fear more surprises from the banking sector, analysts said on Friday.
The European Central Bank kept its main rate on hold at 4 percent as expected on Thursday, despite mounting pressure for an easing in monetary policy to help avert a global recession.
Key European leaders are calling for greater transparency in world financial markets, meeting Tuesday in London to discuss how they can rescue the turbulent global economy.