ECB Stands Pat On Rates, Emphasizes Easy Policy For 'extended Period'

By William L. WattsMarketsMarketWatch Pulse

The European Central Bank, as expected, left interest rates unchanged at its policy meeting on Thursday. In a statement, the ECB said it expected rates "to remain at the present or lower levels for an extended period of time, and well past the horizon of the net asset purchases." The central bank also said it was also confirming that monthly asset buys of 80 billion euros a month are intended to run until March 2017, "or beyond" if necessary, and in any case until [the Governing Council] sees a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation consistent with its inflation aim." ECB's main refinancing rate stands at 0%, while the deposit rate paid on money parked overnight at the bank remains at minus 0.4%. The rate on the ECB's marginal lending facility remains at 0.25%. ECB President Mario Draghi's news conference is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Frankfurt time, or 8:30 a.m. Eastern.

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