European Union

European Central Bank Rate Decision Timeline

Lisa Auret, Special to

March 6 2008 -- The European Central Bank is expected to keep rates steady, despite oil hitting new highs above $103 a barrel and the dollar reaching records lows of almost $1.53 against the euro, as the U.S. floats into a recession, stemming from a global credit crunch.

Worried euro zone policymakers pressured Washington on Tuesday, March 4, to do more to halt the dollar's decline, a day after the U.S. currency hit a record low against Europe's single currency.

Video: Euro Zone Consumers Slow

Feb. 7 2008  -- The European Central Bank kept its key interest rates on hold at 4 percent for the sixth consecutive meeting, despite mounting pressure for monetary easing to help avert a global recession.

ECB Leaves Rates on Hold for Another Month

Inflation was still the bank's main concern, but recent data showed that there are risks for economic growth, ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet said in a news conference.

"The current short-term pressure on inflation must not spill over medium term," Trichet said. "The governing council remains committed to preventing second-round effects."

"Uncertainties about the prospects of economic activity are unusually high," he added, a code-word which markets have come to interpret as meaning the bank will not change its policy at the next meeting.

Video: ECB Had No Choice but to Hold

Jan. 10 2008   -- The European Central Bank left key lending rates at 4 percent, amid continuing uncertainty regarding the outlook of the economy, citing that strong short-term upward pressure on inflation continued, with HICP inflation remaining at 3.1 percent in December, still above the central bank's preferred inflation measure of 2 percent.

The ECB's decision was widely expected, with all 71 analysts in a recent Reuters poll predicting the bank will stand pat.

"The economic fundamentals of the euro area are sound," ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet said, adding that profitability was sustained, employment growth was robust, and unemployment was low.

"We will continue to monitor very closely all developments over the coming weeks," Trichet said.

Video: ECB is 'Totally Alert'

Dec. 6 2007 --  The ECB left rates on hold at 4 percent, saying that "the reappraisal of risk in financial markets is still evolving" and is "accompanied by continued uncertainty about the potential impact on the real economy".

Video: ECB to Stay on Hold in 2008?

Nov. 8 2007   -- The European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged at 4%, saying that the "ongoing reappraisal of risk in the financial markets" had led to continued uncertainty, with the euro reaching record highs against the dollar, oil heading towards the $100-a-barrel mark and economic data remaining mixed.

Video: European Central Bank Keeps Rates on Hold

Oct. 4 2007  -- The ECB left rates on hold at 4%, citing favorable conditions in the euro area economy and stressing that unemployment had fallen, the euro had strengthened against the dollar and the continued volatility in the financial markets remained a problem.

ECB's Trichet Keeps Options Open

Video: ECB Holds Rates at 4%;

Sept. 6 2007  -- The central bank left interest rates unchanged at 4% despite having signaled a rise. President Jean-Claude Trichet noted the increased volatility and uncertainty in the financial markets in his statement, saying the monetary committee will pay "great attention" to the developments.

Video: ECB Keeps Rates on Hold at 4%

Aug. 2 2007  -- The European Central Bank did not have a monetary policy meeting, but did hold a telephonic press conference in light of the US subprime mortgage market problems.

Video: ECB Expected to Hike in September

July 5 2007  -- The ECB left rates unchanged at 4%, saying that "overall financing conditions (are) favorable, money and credit growth vigorous, and liquidity in the euro area ample." In the subsequent press conference President Jean-Claude Trichet signaled that a rate rise in either September or October is a possibility.

June 6 2007  -- The euro zone central bank raised interest rates by 25 basis points to 4%, stating "prevailing upside risks to price stability over the medium term", i.e. inflationary pressures. The hike marks a doubling in the main rate compared to 18 months before.

Video: ECB to Hike Rates Further? "CNBC Plus users"

May 10 2007  --  The European Central Bank left rates unchanged at 3.75%, but President Jean-Claude Trichet did emphasize that "strong vigilance is of the essence" in order to curb inflation, indicating future rate hikes. Analysts priced in a further interest rate increase after June.

Video: ECB Rate Decision Analysis "CNBC Plus users"

April 12 2007  --  The central bank kept rates unchanged at 3.75%, citing a "favorable economic environment."

Video: ECB Keeps Rates Unchanged "CNBC Plus users"

March 8 2007  -- The ECB raised interest rates by 25 basis points to 3.75%, citing "ongoing robust growth in the euro area".
February 8 2007 -- The ECB left rates on hold, but in the press conference following the decision President Jean-Claude Trichet mentioned the key phrase "strong vigilance", citing volatility in the quarter-on-quarter growth rates of real GDP, and signaling the possibility of a rate rise in March.

Video: Expect ECB Rate Hike in March "CNBC Plus users"

January 11 2007 --The European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged at 2.50%, choosing not to raise rates like it did in December, when it raised rates by 25 basis points.

Video: ECB Leaves Rates on Hold "CNBC Plus users"