ECB Leaves Rates Unchanged, Reiterates Asset-purchase Plans

By William L. Watts Markets MarketWatch Pulse

The European Central Bank, as expected, made no changes to interest rates Thursday and repeated that it could increase the size or lengthen the duration of its asset-buying program if inflation looks set to fall far back below its target of near but just below 2%. The ECB Governing Council left the rate on main refinancing operations at 0% and held the deposit rate paid on funds parked overnight at the bank at minus 0.4%. The rate on the ECB's marginal lending facility remains at 0.25%. As previously announced, the ECB reduced its monthly bond purchases to 60 billion euros beginning in April, a pace the central bank reiterated it would maintain until the end of December, or beyond, if necessary. ECB President Mario Draghi will hold a news conference at 2:30 p.m. Frankfurt time, or 8:30 a.m. Eastern.

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