NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 03/08/13 -- The Euro strengthened Thursday after the European Central Bank decided to leave its key rate unchanged at a record low 0.75 percent. While European officials had discussed a potential rate cut, the "prevailing consensus was to leave the rates unchanged," ECB President Mario Draghi said. Research Driven Investing examines investing opportunities in the Foreign Banking Industry and provides equity research on Barclays PLC (NYSE: BCS) and National Bank of Greece (NYSE: NBG).
The ECB's decision to leave its key interest rate at its record low of 0.75 percent came on the same day the Bank of England announced it would leave its interest rate at 0.5 percent. Mario Draghi at a recent press conference stated that the Eurozone's economy would begin to stabilize in the second half of the year, and could see growth return in 2014. The ECB has predicted that the Eurozone economy will shrink 0.5 percent in 2013, an increase from their previous forecast of 0.3 percent, while estimated growth for 2014 is expected to be 1 percent, according to data from Bloomberg.
"The key take aways from the [ECB] meeting are that all options remain open and that the ECB hasn't closed the door for further easing if financial conditions tighten," said James Ashley, senior economist at RBC Capital Markets.
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Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in personal banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking and wealth and investment management with an extensive international presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. The company reported adjusted profit before tax for the full year 2012 totaled £ 7,048 million, an increase of 26 percent.
National Bank of Greece S.A., together with its subsidiaries, provides diversified financial services primarily in Greece. The company also has operations in Turkey, the United Kingdom, South Eastern Europe, Cyprus, Malta, Egypt, and South Africa. The unemployment rate in Greece is currently above 50 percent.
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