ANKARA

European stocks were lower at the close Thursday after the European Central Bank (ECB) kept interest rates unchanged despite record high inflation.

The STOXX Europe 600, which includes around 90% of the market capitalization of the European market in 17 countries, was down 8.38 points, or 1.76%, to 468.63.

The UK’s FTSE 100 index lost 54 points, or 0.71%, to end the day at 7,528. Germany’s DAX 30 was the worst performer, shedding 245 points, or 1.57%, to finish at 15,368.

France’s CAC 40 was off 109 points, or 1.54%, to 7,005 points, while Italy’s FTSE MIB fell 299 points, or 1.09%, to end at 27,088 points.

Spain’s IBEX 35 declined 23.8 points, or 0.27%, to finish at 8,689.

ECB President Christine Lagarde said she expects inflation to likely remain high for longer than previously anticipated but to start declining later this year.

“Inflation has risen sharply in recent months and it has further surprised to the upside in January. This is primarily driven by higher energy costs that are pushing up prices across many sectors, as well as higher food prices,” she said at a news conference.

Annual euro area inflation hit a new record high of 5.1% in January, according to a flash estimate of preliminary data from Eurostat on Wednesday. The figure was up from 5% in December.

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