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Eurozone rates unchanged at 3.5%

The European Central Bank (ECB) has kept its key eurozone interest rate on hold at 3.5%.

But it is widely believed that rates will be raised next month, for the first time since December. Analysts say ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet has repeatedly dropped hints that endorse their expectations of a March hike in interest rates. The decision to hold euro rates steady comes after the Bank of England kept UK rates unchanged for another month. Trichet will shortly be explaining the decision at a news conference, during which he is expected to hint again at a March increase. Economists are looking out for a change in the language used at the meeting. „A shift from a 'close monitoring approach' to a 'vigilant approach' to monetary policy” will be taken to mean that rates will go up in March, according to Audrey Childe-Freeman, senior European economist at CIBC World Markets. (BBC NEWS)