[ Anchor Lead]

The European Central Bank announced that it would keep the pace of rate hikes at 0.5 percentage point next month as it raised its benchmark interest rate by 0.5 percentage point.

The US Federal Reserve has officially acknowledged that inflation has slowed and reduced the extent of rate hikes, but the European Central Bank has judged that it is not yet at the stage.

Correspondent Kwak Sang-eun reports from Paris.

<Reporter> The

European Central Bank held a meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee and decided to raise the base rate by 0.5 percentage point to 3.0%.

The deposit and marginal lending rates were also raised by 0.5 percentage points to 2.5% and 3.25%, respectively.

Considering the current inflationary pressure, interest rate hikes should continue at a significant level going forward, he said.

[Christine Lagarde/European Central Bank

President: Keeping interest rates at a limited level is expected to dampen demand and curb inflation over time.]

The 'giant step' was carried out by raising the interest rate by 0.75 percentage point for two consecutive months.

After that, the width of the increase was lowered to 0.5% point, 'Big Step', and has been maintained until now.

Consumer price inflation in the 20 eurozone countries that use the euro fell to 8.5% in January after peaking at 10.6% in October last year, but it is still high.

The UK also raised its benchmark interest rate by 0.5 percentage point to 4.0%, the highest level since the global financial crisis in 2008, setting a record for 10 consecutive hikes.

A day earlier, the US announced its interest rate policy, which cuts the range of interest rate hikes to 0.25 percentage points.

However, in Europe, where utility and food costs are still skyrocketing due to the war in Ukraine, there is a prospect that a big step increase will continue for some time to come.