The Dutch long-term interest rate, based on the return of the most recent ten-year government loan, averaged 3.8 percent in February 2009.This is the same as in January. In the second half of 2008 the long-term interest rate dropped continually.
In March 2009, the European Central Bank (ECB) lowered its interest rates. Since 11 March 2009, the ECB deposit rate has stood at 0.5 percent. The deposit rate is often considered as the bottom rate on the interest market. Since 11 March 2009, the most important ECB interest rate, the repo rate, has stood at 1.5 percent.
One of the main guidelines for the ECB’s decision to change or refrain from changing the interest rate is the inflation level in the eurozone. According to the ECB, prices are stable in the eurozone, if the inflation rate is close to 2 percent. For February 2009 Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, calculated an average inflation rate of 1.2 percent. In January it stood at 1.1 percent, the lowest rate in nearly a decade. With 4 percent, the eurozone inflation rate reached its highest level in mid-2008. Subsequently, the rate has dropped considerably.