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Czech central bank lifts key interest rate to tame inflation

PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech Republic's central bank has surprisingly raised its key interest rate by a quarter-point to 2.25% in response to higher inflation rates, a move that's helped lift the country's currency to its highest level against the euro since 2012.

Thursday's move, which was not expected in financial markets, is the first since since May. A hike had been pencilled in for later in the year as inflation is running at 3.2%, above the bank's target of 3%.

The central bank has been steadily lifting its key rate since August 2017, when it was at a low of 0.05%.

Following the hike, the Czech crown hit an 8-year high against the euro, dropping to below 25 crowns for one euro.