At their previous meeting in December, the ECB Governing Council had also raised interest rates by 0.5 points, slowing the pace of rate hikes after several months. This time, however, the Europeans did not follow the example of the US Federal Reserve to throttle further. The Fed announced an increase of just 0.25 points on Wednesday.

With its decision, the ECB is moving at the same level as the Bank of England, which also announced a rate hike of 0.5 points on Thursday.

“The ECB Governing Council will continue on the course it has taken by raising interest rates significantly and at a steady pace,” the bank said. Inflation should be curbed “promptly” and brought to the target of two percent “in the medium term”. At its next monetary policy meeting in March, the Governing Council of the ECB “intends” to raise key interest rates again by 0.5 percent. Then an “assessment of the subsequent monetary policy path” is to be carried out.

According to an initial estimate by the statistics office Eurostat on Wednesday, inflation in the euro zone continued to slow down in January. At 8.5 percent, however, it remained at a very high level.