The European Central Bank, as expected, left interest rates unchanged Thursday. The focus now turns to ECB President Mario Draghi's news conference. The ECB chief is likely to play down any suggestion of a potential tapering of the bank's 80 billion-euro-a-month bond buying program but is also likely to hold off on announcing any extension of the purchases beyond its scheduled March 2017 end date. In a statement, the ECB said the Governing Council "confirms that the monthly asset purchases of 80 billion euros are intended to run until the end of March 2017, or beyond, if necessary, and in any case until it sees a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation consistent with its inflation aim."
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