ECB Cuts Main Rate To Record Low, Deposit Rate To Zero [Bloomberg]


The European Central Bank cut interest rates to a record low and said it won’t pay anything on overnight deposits as the sovereign debt crisis threatens to drive the euro region into recession.

Policy makers meeting in Frankfurt today lowered the ECB’s main refinancing rate to 0.75 percent from 1 percent, as predicted by 49 of 64 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. The ECB also cut its deposit rate to zero from 0.25 percent and its marginal lending rate to 1.5 percent from 1.75 percent. President Mario Draghi holds a press conference at 2:30 p.m. in Frankfurt to explain the decision.

With Europe’s debt crisis curbing growth across the continent and damping the global outlook, the ECB was under pressure to ease monetary conditions, even though Draghi last month voiced misgivings about the effectiveness of a rate reduction. While today’s moves may not stimulate demand, they will lower borrowing costs for struggling banks and could build on the confidence boost euro-area governments delivered last week when they took steps toward a deeper economic union.

“The benchmark rate doesn’t really matter at the moment, but cutting the deposit rate all the way to zero takes the ECB into new territory,” said James Nixon, chief European economist at Societe Generale SA in London. “If you can kick-start the money market you go a long way to addressing some of the funding problems that banks face. That may free banks to lend to the economy.”

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