updated 4/2/2009 10:44:08 AM ET 2009-04-02T14:44:08

The European Central Bank has lowered its benchmark interest rate to a record low of 1.25 percent as it tackles the economic downturn plaguing the 16 countries that use the euro.

Major Market Indices

Thursday’s quarter percentage point reduction comes as members of the Group of 20 are meeting in London to hash out measures to reverse the global financial crisis and reform financial markets.

The ECB’s president said the bank could consider lowering the benchmark interest rate further from 1.25 percent.

Speaking to reporters Thursday after the ECB lowered the key rate from 1.5 percent to 1.25 percent — less than the half percentage point most analysts had expected — Jean-Claude Trichet said that the “main policy rate is not the lowest yet.”

He did not say when or by how much the main refinancing rate could be reduced, but noted that the current level is at its lowest point since World War II.

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