The European Central Bank (ECB) is expected to cut interest rates in the eurozone to a record low of 1%.

The ECB has already cut its key rate five times from 4.25% in October 2008 to 1.5% in March as it tries to boost economic activity.

The unemployment rate in the eurozone rose to 8.5% in February, its highest level in almost three years.

Economists are also waiting to see if the ECB follows other central banks in moving towards quantitative easing.

Both the Bank of England and the US Federal Reserve have introduced quantitative easing - whereby they increase the amount of money in the system - as they try to counter the economic downturn.

It was confirmed in November last year that the eurozone was officially in a recession.

The ECB has said that it expects GDP in the 16-nation bloc to shrink between 2.2% and 3.2% this year.

But the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) predicted this week that the eurozone economy would contract by 4.1%.

The OECD also warned that the unemployment rate could rise to almost 12% in 2010.

source: www.stockwatch.com.cy