Waiting for improved market conditions to trickle down to the real economy, the European Central Bank (ECB) has kept, yet again, its main interest rates at record lows. The Governing Council decided unanimously, on 10 January, to maintain the bank's main lending rate at 0.75%, the overnight marginal lending facility at 1.5% and the overnight deposit facility at an unprecedented 0%, after having all dropped 25 basis points in July.

ECB President Mario Draghi argues that his institution's policy stance is accommodative and is therefore in wait-and-see mode at the moment: expecting the improvement in financial markets related to the outright monetary transactions (OMT) announcement(1)a to fully feed through to the real economy in the course of the year.

The eurozone's economy remains very weak, noted Draghi, adding that until growth improves - with a gradual recovery expected only in the second part of 2013 - one cannot speak of a turning point. He urged...

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