ECB Leaves Rates Unchanged; Draghi Up Next

By MarketWatch Markets MarketWatch Pulse

The European Central Bank, as expected, left interest rates unchanged Thursday, putting the focus on ECB President Mario Draghi's news conference. The ECB Governing Council left its rate on main refinancing operations at 0%, while holding the rate on its overnight deposit facility at minus 0.4% and the rate on its marginal lending facility at 0.25%. The decision was expected after the ECB last month decided to extend its bond buying program through the end of 2017. In its statement, the ECB said it would stick to the pace and timetable for purchases laid out in December, but that the Governing Council was ready to "increase the program in terms of size and/or duration" if the outlook "becomes less favorable, or if financial conditions become inconsistent with furhter progress toward a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation." Draghi's news conference is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. Frankfurt time, or 8:30 a.m. Eastern.

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