The European Central Bank raised interest rates to the highest in more than two years to keep up its fight against inflation as the region's sovereign debt crisis persists.

Officials meeting in Frankfurt today increased the benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 1.5 percent, matching forecasts by all 55 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. That's the highest since March 2009. The central bank will raise borrowing costs further in October, according to a separate survey.

Policy makers are trying to balance the risks of further turmoil in debt markets against the danger that Germany's export-led recovery will fuel a wage-price spiral. While the yield on Greek, Irish and Portuguese two-year bonds all exceed 15 percent, inflation across the region has breached the central bank's 2 percent limit for the past seven months.

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