ECB keep rates on hold at record low

 Associated Press   Frankfurt     Last Updated: February 7, 2013  | 21:35 IST

The European Central Bank says it is keeping its benchmark rate at a record low 0.75 per cent despite pressure from hard-pressed businesses for a cut.

The bank announced the decision on a conference call on Thursday.

Even though the economy of the 17 European Union countries that use the euro is in recession, there have been positive recent signals from forward-looking surveys, which likely played a large factor in the bank's decision.

ECB head Mario Draghi is likely to face questions at the bank's press conference about the recent strength of the euro. The appreciating currency stands to make life even more difficult for Europe's exporters.

Draghi has been widely praised for helping to ease market concerns over Europe's debt problems.

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