Sep 8, 2022 - World

European Central Bank unveils super-sized interest rate hike

European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde during a news conference in July. Photo: Alex Kraus/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The European Central Bank announced the largest interest rate hike in the central bank’s 24-year history on Thursday as the eurozone battles record inflation stoked by an energy crisis.

Details: The ECB said it would hike rates by three-quarters of a percentage point, following a smaller — though still historically large — half-point increase in July.

Why it matters: The ECB’s super-sized interest rate hike underscores the central bank's intense fight against inflation.

  • It's raising borrowing costs during a staggering moment for the eurozone economy: there's a high risk of a recession as Russia crimps Europe's energy supply, a problem that may get worse in the months ahead.

What they're saying: "This major step frontloads the transition from the prevailing highly accommodative level of policy rates towards levels that will ensure the timely return of inflation to the ECB’s 2% medium-term target," the policy statement reads.

The ECB also released fresh economic projections alongside the interest rate announcement, which shows that the central bank expects high inflation for a longer period paired with slower economic growth.

By the numbers: It expects inflation will average 8.1% this year and 5.5% next year. In June, the ECB expected inflation would average 6.8% this year before declining to 3.5%.

  • The ECB expects the economy will grow a meager 0.9% in 2023, a sharp downgrade from the 2.1% it expected in June.
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