European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi attends a press conference at the ECB headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, on March 8, 2018. The European Central Bank on Thursday decided to keep key interest rates unchanged at the monetary policy meeting here. (Xinhua/Luo Huanhuan)
FRANKFURT, March 8 (Xinhua) -- The European Central Bank (ECB) on Thursday decided to keep key interest rates unchanged at the monetary policy meeting here.
"The interest rate on the main refinancing operations and the interest rates on the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility will remain unchanged at 0.00 percent, 0.25 percent and -0.4 percent respectively," said an ECB statement.
The ECB also repeated that its bond purchase program will continue as planned.
The interest rates decision came as no surprise to the market. As the economic recovery continues to gain momentum in the euro area, there has been increasing speculation about the winding down of ECB's monetary easing policies.
Compared with its decision in January, ECB has not mentioned about its readiness to increase the asset purchase program.
The removal of the so-called easing bias from its monetary policy decision sparked a rally of euro against the U.S. dollar. However, it gave up all its gains after Mario Draghi, the president of ECB, clarified that the ECB policy remained reactive.
The ECB revised its forecast for the real GDP growth of euro area in 2018 to 2.4 percent in its March 2018 staff macroeconomic projections.
With regard to inflation expectations, the ECB foresees the annual Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) inflation at 1.4 percent in 2018, 1.4 percent in 2019 and 1.7 percent in 2020.
Compared with the December 2017 Eurosystem staff macroeconomic projections, the outlook for headline HICP inflation has been revised down slightly for 2019 and remains unchanged for 2018 and 2020.