ECB holds key interest rate at 3.5 pct.

Worries about creeping inflation spurred the Bank of England to make a surprise increase in its main interest rate Thursday, while the European Central Bank held steady but hinted at an increase of its own to come.

The Bank of England lifted the key rate from 5 percent to 5.25 percent to its highest point since May 2001, despite expectations for no move. Policy-makers in Britain are concerned about rising inflation rates, which reached 2.7 percent in November — above the bank’s target of 2 percent for the seventh month in a row.

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