The interest rates on the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility were left on hold at 0.30 percent and -0.20 percent respectively.
Extracts from the Introductory statement to the press conference by Mario Draghi, President of the ECB:
Based on our regular economic and monetary analyses, and in line with our forward guidance, we decided to keep the key ECB interest rates unchanged. Following up on the decisions of 2 October 2014, we last month started purchasing covered bonds under our new programme. We will also soon start to purchase asset-backed securities. The programmes will last for at least two years. Together with the series of targeted longer-term refinancing operations to be conducted until June 2016, these asset purchases will have a sizeable impact on our balance sheet, which is expected to move towards the dimensions it had at the beginning of 2012.
Our measures will enhance the functioning of the monetary policy transmission mechanism, support financing conditions in the euro area, facilitate credit provision to the real economy and generate positive spillovers to other markets. They will thereby further ease the monetary policy stance more broadly, support our forward guidance on the key ECB interest rates and reinforce the fact that there are significant and increasing differences in the monetary policy cycle between major advanced economies.
With the measures that have been put in place, monetary policy has responded to the outlook for low inflation, a weakening growth momentum and continued subdued monetary and credit dynamics. Our accommodative monetary policy stance will underpin the firm anchoring of medium to long-term inflation expectations, in line with our aim of achieving inflation rates below, but close to, 2%. As they work their way through to the economy, our monetary policy measures will together contribute to a return of inflation rates to levels closer to our aim.
However, looking ahead, and taking into account new information and analysis, the Governing Council will closely monitor and continuously assess the appropriateness of its monetary policy stance. Should it become necessary to further address risks of too prolonged a period of low inflation, the Governing Council is unanimous in its commitment to using additional unconventional instruments within its mandate. The Governing Council has tasked ECB staff and the relevant Eurosystem committees with ensuring the timely preparation of further measures to be implemented, if needed.
The risks surrounding the economic outlook for the euro area continue to be on the downside. In particular, the weakening in the euro area’s growth momentum, alongside heightened geopolitical risks, could dampen confidence and, in particular, private investment. In addition, insufficient progress in structural reforms in euro area countries constitutes a key downward risk to the economic outlook.