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ECB Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged

Kitco News

(Kitco News) - The European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged Thursday and continued to say that rates would remain at current levels until after summer.

The Governing Council left the interest rates on the main refinancing operations, the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility at 0.00%, 0.25% and minus 0.40% respectively.

“The Governing Council expects the key ECB interest rates to remain at their present levels at least through the summer of 2019, and in any case for as long as necessary to ensure the continued sustained convergence of inflation to levels that are below, but close to, 2% over the medium term,” the bank’s policy statement said.

The central bank ended its bond-purchase program last month. However, officials said the ECB will continue reinvesting the principal payments from maturing securities for “an extended period of time past the date when it starts raising the key ECB interest rates, and in any case for as long as necessary to maintain favorable liquidity conditions and an ample degree of monetary accommodation.”

ECB President Mario Draghi is scheduled to hold a news conference on the rate decisions at 14:30 CET.

Market participants expected rates to be left alone, but many were looking for officials to sound a more dovish note, acknowledging that economic growth has been slowing. This would not be a change in policy but would be seen as a sign that the central bank may be cautious about removing monetary accommodation and may also push rate hikes farther into the future.

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