FRANKFURT – The European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged on Thursday, holding off fresh policy action as it prepares to launch fresh funding for banks next month that it hopes will lift inflation from rock-bottom levels.
The decision to leave rates unchanged was expected after the ECB cut them in June, taking its deposit rate below zero and announcing a new round of long-term loans for banks that will be tied to lending to smaller companies. The first such loans will be available on Sept. 18.
At Thursday's meeting, the ECB left its main refinancing rate unchanged at a record low of 0.15 percent, as expected.
It also kept the rate on bank overnight deposits at -0.10 percent, which means banks pay to park funds at the central bank, and held its marginal lending facility - or emergency borrowing rate - at 0.40 percent.
Markets now turn their attention to ECB President Mario Draghi's 1230 GMT news conference, at which he is expected to give a more detailed explanation of the ECB's decision.
(Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Catherine Evans)