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ECB holds rates, focuses on new asset-buying plans

[NAPLES] The European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged on Thursday, holding them at record lows while it rolls out a batch of measures it hopes will see off the spectre of deflation and revive the eurozone economy.

The decision to leave rates on hold was widely expected after the ECB cut them to rock-bottom levels last month and the bank's president, Mario Draghi, said after the move: "Now we are at the lower bound".

At Thursday's meeting, the ECB left its main refinancing rate at 0.05 per cent.

It also kept the rate on bank overnight deposits at -0.20 per cent, which means banks pay to park funds at the central bank, and held its marginal lending facility - or emergency borrowing rate - at 0.30 per cent.

Markets now turn their attention to Mr Draghi's 1230 GMT news conference, at which he is expected to give a more detailed explanation of the ECB's decision and to flesh out the bank's plans to buy asset-backed securities (ABS). - Reuters