FRANKFURT, July 5 Key euro zone bank-to-bank
lending rates fell to their lowest level in more than two years
on Thursday, hours before the European Central Bank is expected
to announce a cut in its policy rates.
The ECB meets on Thursday to decide on the euro zone's
interest rates and 48 out of 71 economists in a Reuters poll
expect the bank to cut rates below the current record low of 1.0
A key question for short-term market interest rates is
whether the bank will also cut its overnight deposit rate, now
at 0.25 percent. The rate is acting as a floor for money market
rates and cutting it would give bank-to-bank rates further room
Three-month Euribor rates, traditionally the
main gauge of bank-to-bank lending, fell to 0.641 percent from
0.645 percent, hitting the lowest since April 2010.
Other key rates also decreased. Six-month Euribor rates
fell to 0.920 percent from 0.923 percent and
shorter-term one week rates dipped to 0.313
percent from 0.317 percent. Overnight rates remained at
Euribor, like counterpart Libor bank-to-bank rates,
are currently at the centre of a manipulation scandal after it
emerged a number of banks were falsely submitting the rates they
pay to the committee that aggregates the data.
Dollar-priced three-month bank-to-bank Euribor lending rates
edged up to 0.996 percent from 0.991
ECB policymakers have given fresh hints in recent days that
the bank could cut interest rates, a move that would open up
room for a further drop in market rates.
"There is no doctrine that interest rates cannot fall below
1 percent," ECB chief economist Peter Praet said last week.
High excess liquidity in the banking system - now at 777
billion euros according to Reuters calculations -
also puts downward pressure on market rates.
The sharp fall in euro-priced interbank rates over the last
half-year has brought benchmark euro-priced three-month rates to
within touching distance of a record low of 0.634 percent hit in
Euribor rates are fixed daily by the Banking Federation of
the European Union (FBE) shortly after 0900 GMT.
* For a table of the latest Euribor fixings for terms of one
week to one year, double click on
* For a table of the previous day's fixings of EONIA swap
rates, which show market expectations for future overnight
lending rates, double click on
* For graphs of historic Euribor and EONIA swap rates, right
click on the links in angle brackets below, and select 'Related
(Reporting by Frankfurt newsroom)