Euro Area Interest Rate

Euro Area Interest Rate

Euro Area Interest Rate

ECB Refinancing Rate in Euro Area

The European Central Bank (ECB) maintained historically low policy rates from 2013 to 2021, reflecting prolonged economic sluggishness and low inflation in the Euro area. The ECB even adopted negative rates to stimulate economic growth and counter deflationary pressures. By 2022, the focus started shifting towards normalizing policy in response to recovery signs and rising inflation

The ECB Refinancing Rate ended 2022 at 2.50%, up from the 0.00% end-2021 value and significantly higher than the reading of 0.25% a decade earlier. For reference, the average policy rate in Major Economies was 3.50% at the end of 2022. For more interest rate information, visit our dedicated page.

Euro Area Interest Rate Chart

Note: This chart displays Policy Interest Rate (%) for Euro Area from 2014 to 2023.
Source: ECB.

Euro Area Interest Rate Data

2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
ECB Refinancing Rate (%, eop) 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 2.50
ECB Overnight Deposit Rate (%, eop) -0.40 -0.50 -0.50 -0.50 2.00
3-Month EURIBOR (%, eop) -0.31 -0.38 -0.55 -0.57 2.13
10-Year Bond Yield (weighted avg. %, eop) 1.21 0.37 -0.09 0.28 3.00

ECB stands pat for the third straight meeting in January

At its 25 January meeting, the European Central Bank (ECB) kept the main refinancing operations, marginal lending facility and deposit facility rates unchanged at 4.50%, 4.75% and 4.00%, respectively. The decision had been largely expected by market analysts. The ECB delivered 10 consecutive hikes between July 2022 and September 2023—a cumulative increase of 450 basis points. The Bank also reiterated that it intends to start normalizing its balance sheet by reducing the pandemic emergency purchase programme (PEPP) by EUR 7.5 billion per month on average during the second half of 2024 and discontinuing reinvestments under the PEPP at end-2024.

The decision to stand pat was underpinned by the ongoing downtrend in inflation and worries about sustained economic weakness in the Eurozone. December saw headline inflation rising to 2.9% from November’s 2.4%, but ECB President Christine Lagarde stressed that the increase was expected and due to a base effect and “does not detract from the view that the disinflation process is at work”.

The Bank reiterated that interest rates had reached levels that, if maintained for a sufficiently long duration, would make a substantial contribution to the timely return of inflation to the 2.0% target and reaffirmed that it was “ready to adjust all of its instruments within its mandate” to reach the target. In the accompanying press conference, President Lagarde reaffirmed that the ECB’s board would “continue to follow a data-dependent approach”. Our panelists predict that interest rates have peaked, and a majority expect the ECB to start easing monetary conditions in H1 2024. The next meeting is scheduled for 7 March.

Commenting on the ECB’s decision, Lee Sue Ann, economist at UOB, stated: “The latest ECB meeting reinforces our view that the ECB is in no rush to start cutting rates. In fact, it would take a severe recession or a sharp drop in longer-term inflation forecasts to prompt a rate cut in the coming months […]. We expect the ECB to keep rates higher for longer, and if anything, begin lowering rates only in 4Q24, though the risk is for the ECB to begin cutting rates earlier.”

Consensus Forecasts and Projections for the next ten years

How should you choose a forecaster if some are too optimistic while others are too pessimistic? FocusEconomics collects European interest rate projections for the next ten years from a panel of 32 analysts at the leading national, regional and global forecast institutions. These projections are then validated by our in-house team of economists and data analysts and averaged to provide one Consensus Forecast you can rely on for each indicator. By averaging all forecasts, upside and downside forecasting errors tend to cancel each other out, leading to the most reliable interest rate forecast available for European interest rate.

Download one of our sample reports to visualize what a Consensus Forecast is and see our European interest rate projections.

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