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Eurozone central bank leaves policies intact

Aug. 1, 2013 at 10:35 AM

FRANKFURT, Germany, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- The European Central Bank left its monetary policy unchanged Thursday, justifying the decision by citing low inflation and a gradually stabilizing economy.

In addition, ECB President Mario Draghi at a press conference said interest would likely remain intact "for an extended period of time," adopting language used by the U.S. central bank in recent years.

In May, the ECB cut its overnight lending rate from 0.75 percent, where it had been since July 2012, to 0.5 percent as the eurozone posted six consecutive quarters of recession.

Draghi said Thursday underlying price pressures on the euro "are expected to remain subdued for the medium term."

He also said recent economic data suggest "some further improvement from low levels and tentatively confirm the expectation of a stabilization in economic activity."

"At the same time, labor market conditions remain weak," he said.

Draghi said policymakers in Frankfurt anticipated growing demand for exports and domestic demand "supported by the accomodative monetary policy stance as well as the recent gains in real income owing to generally lower inflation."

"Overall, euro area economic activity should stabilize and recover at a slow pace," he said.

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