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ECB Takes Break But Maintains Steady Hand

THE European Central Bank held interest rates at 2 percent yesterday, taking a widely expected breather from rate cuts even though the euro zone economy continues to weaken.

The ECB has lopped 225 basis points from benchmark credit costs since early October, but said after a 50 basis point cut on January 15 that its February meeting would not be important for monetary policy.

In a Reuters poll, 82 of 85 economists said rates would stay on hold but the same number see a cut in March.

Financial markets also expected no change this month.


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