FRANKFURT, Germany The European Central Bank has left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.75 percent even though the economy in the euro area remains stuck in recession.
Markets were waiting to hear ECB head Mario Draghi talk about his outlook for the economy at a news conference later Thursday.
The bank held off cutting rates after recent economic survey data supported its position that the economy in the 17 European Union member countries that use the euro will recover gradually this year.
The bank sets monetary policy for the eurozone and its 333 million people.
The ECB last month slashed its economic forecast for this year from 0.5 percent growth to a decline of 0.3 percent, with growth resuming only later in the year. Some indicators of business optimism, such as eurozone surveys of purchasing managers and Germany’s Ifo institute survey of 7,000 business executives, have risen recently.