The European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged even as a stronger currency threatens the euro area’s recovery from recession.
Policy makers meeting in Frankfurt today kept the benchmark rate at a record low of 0.75 percent, as forecast by all 60 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. President Mario Draghi holds a press conference at 2:30 p.m. to explain the decision.
Recent indicators suggest the euro-area economy may return to growth later this year, easing pressure on the ECB to lower rates further. At the same time, a rising euro could hurt exports and stymie the recovery before it has begun, and looser monetary policy in the U.S. and Japan may continue to weaken the dollar and the yen.
“The euro is a little bit too strong,” Bernard Charles, Chief Executive Officer at the French software maker Dassault Systemes SA, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television today. This will “have an effect this year” on the economy and its “capacity to export,” he said.
The common currency rose 0.3 percent to $1.3568 today. It reached a 14-month high against the dollar this month and a three-year high against the yen. It has climbed 11 percent on a trade-weighted basis since Draghi pledged on July 26 to do whatever is needed to preserve Europe’s monetary union.
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