ECB mulls next move as eurozone inflation sags

Associated Press

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The European Central Bank is mulling its next move as a rock-bottom inflation rate adds to worries about economic weakness in the 18-nation eurozone.

The ECB's benchmark refinancing rate already stands at a record-low 0.25 percent. The bank's governing council appears unlikely to cut any further when it meets on Thursday, though questions remain about whether it might resort in the near future to less conventional measures such as a new round of cheap loans to banks or even large-scale purchases of financial assets.

Data released earlier this week showed that inflation across the eurozone dropped to 0.5 percent in March — down from 0.7 percent in February. The third decline in as many months underlined concerns that consumer prices could start to fall outright.

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