The European Central Bank (ECB) has raised interest rates for the first time in more than 11 years as it tries to control soaring eurozone inflation, reports BBC News. The ECB increased its key interest rate by 0.5 percentage points to 0.0% and plans further increases this year.
The rate has been negative since 2014, in a bid to boost the bloc's economy after years of weak growth. But inflation is now at a record 8.6% as food, fuel and energy costs soar. That is well above the bank's 2% target.
Explaining its decision, ECB president Christine Lagarde said: "Economic activity [in the eurozone] is slowing. Russia's unjustified aggression towards Ukraine is an ongoing drag on growth."
She said that while tourism was likely to boost the bloc this summer, high inflation and continued supply chain issues would have "a dampening effect on the economy".
The European Union is vulnerable to inflation because it relies heavily on Russia for its oil and gas. This week it urged member states to begin rationing supplies amid fears Moscow will halt gas deliveries this year, causing shortages and further price rises.
Central banks around the world have put up their rates in response, including the Bank of England and the U.S. Federal Reserve.
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