Source - SMW
European Central Bank has left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at zero, with the deposit rate unmoved at -0.4%.

This was broadly in line with market expectations.

It added that it foresaw rates at or beneath current levels for an extended period of time.

The central bank also reaffirmed that it would continue its quantitative easing programme through to March 2017.

It would continue QE beyond that date, if required.   

"The ECB decided that 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%, 0.25% and -0.40% respectively," it said in a statement.

"The Governing Council continues to expect the key ECB interest rates to remain at present or lower levels for an extended period of time, and well past the horizon of the net asset purchases.

"Regarding non-standard monetary policy measures, the Governing Council confirms that the monthly asset purchases of €80 billion are intended to run until the end of March 2017, or beyond, if necessary, and in any case until it sees a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation consistent with its inflation aim.

"The President of the ECB will comment on the considerations underlying these decisions at a press conference starting at 14:30 CET today."