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Key Euribor rate steady as ECB rate cut hopes dim

An illuminated euro sign is seen in front of the headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) in the late evening in Frankfurt January 8,
An illuminated euro sign is seen in front of the headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) in the late evening in Frankfurt January 8,

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The key Euribor bank-to-bank lending rate held steady on Monday as expectations of an ECB interest rate cut faded after data last week showed the euro zone exited recession in the second quarter.

Stronger growth in the euro zone's two largest economies, Germany and France, helped the currency bloc emerge from its longest recession to date in the April-June period, supporting the European Central Bank's expectation for a fragile recovery.

The improved economic outlook has led to a rise in short-term money market rates, as investors see less reason for the euro zone's central bank to cut interest rates from their record low of 0.50 percent any time soon.

Money markets are pricing out expectations of another ECB rate cut.

On Monday, the three-month Euribor rate, traditionally the main gauge of unsecured bank-to-bank lending, was unchanged for the third session running at 0.226 percent.

The six-month Euribor rate was also unchanged, at 0.342 percent, while the one-week rate stayed at 0.101 percent. The overnight Eonia rate edged up to 0.078 percent from 0.077 percent.

Dollar-priced bank-to-bank Euribor lending rates were mixed, with three-month rates dipping to 0.49833 percent from 0.50000 percent and one-week rates unchanged at 0.30333 percent.

Excess liquidity in the euro zone banking sector stood at 258 billion euros, still high enough to keep short-term market rates below the ECB's refinancing rate.

The ECB said in its July monthly bulletin that as long as excess liquidity "remains above a certain threshold, estimated to be in the range of 100 billion to 200 billion euros, short-term money market rates are expected to stay slightly above the deposit rate".

The ECB's main refi rate is at 0.5 percent and the deposit rate at zero.

(Reporting by Frankfurt newsroom; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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