ECB leaves monetary policy as is

March 7, 2013 at 10:40 AM

FRANKFURT, Germany, March 7 (UPI) -- The European Central Bank on Thursday left its monetary policy intact with the expectation that inflation would remain "contained," the bank's president said.

"Over the policy-relevant horizon, inflationary pressures should remain contained," said ECB President Mario Draghi at a press conference in Frankfurt, Germany.

Draghi said inflation had recently pulled back, dropping to an annual rate under 2 percent, which is the threshold for concern among the bank's decision makers.

Draghi, who has acknowledged the need for fiscal discipline, said fourth quarter economic output in the eurozone was "weak" with Eurostat's second estimate showing a 0.6 percent contraction in the quarter.

Draghi blamed a major portion of the decline on "a fall in domestic demand" and "weak exports."

He also said the bank's governing body expected that to continue.

"The Governing Council continues to see downside risks surrounding the economic outlook for the euro area. The risks relate to the possibility of weaker than expected domestic demand and exports and to slow or insufficient implementation of structural reforms in the euro area," he said.

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