BRUSSELS — European Central Bank President Wim Duisenberg gave a clear signal Monday that the bank is poised to cut interest rates after data showed euro-zone inflation eased in October.
Duisenberg's comments after a meeting with euro zone finance ministers are likely to fuel expectations that the ECB will cut its benchmark short-term rate, now 3.75%, at its meeting Thursday.
The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to cut its key rate today, which would be the 10th reduction this year. The Fed's rate now is 2.5%.
The ECB has been roundly criticized in Europe for its reluctance to lower rates aggressively despite the global economy's slowdown.
Duisenberg has argued that stubborn inflation in Europe has been an impediment to rate cuts.
But a report Monday from the chief euro-zone statistical agency showed that inflation was at a 2.4% annualized rate in October, the closest it has been to the ECB's self-imposed 2% ceiling since January.