updated 3/3/2011 9:09:59 AM ET 2011-03-03T14:09:59

The European Central Bank's chief says interest rates could be raised at the next policy meeting in April in light of the sharp rise in inflation in the 17-country eurozone.

Speaking after the bank left its main interest rate at the record low of 1 percent, President Jean-Claude Trichet said "strong vigilance" was warranted. In the past Trichet used that wording to signal to markets that a rate increase was due in coming months.

Trichet said risks to prices are "on the upside" and that the whole governing council is "prepared to act in a firm and timely manner."

The markets on Thursday took Trichet's comments as a clear hint that rate increases are on the agenda and the euro spiked above $1.39.

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