Trichet says

Stubbornly high eurozone inflation is the top priority of the ECB, its president, Jean-Claude Trichet, said after his decision to hold rates today. Setting a more hawkish tone than of late, Mr Trichet said: "The firm anchoring of medium- to long-term inflation expectations is of the highest priority to the Governing Council". "The current monetary policy stance will contribute to achieving," he added. Record oil prices, higher credit costs and the euro's 17pc gain against the dollar in the past year are slowing economic growth in the 15-nation euro region. At the same time, inflation is running at 3.2pc, the fastest pace since the euro's debut in 1999. "Uncertainty resulting from financial turmoil remains high," Mr Trichet said. "The economic fundamentals are sound. We emphasise that maintaining price stability over the medium term is our prime objective." Some analysts were predicting that Trichet would soften his hawkish tone in order to slow down the record-breaking euro, but Trichet reiterated that the ECB's primary focus remains on controlling inflation. European trade unions and many officials have expressed anger over the rapid rise of the euro, which threatens to hurt European exporters.