European Central Bank Keeps Base Interest Rate at 0%

The Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) has decided to keep the base interest rate at 0%, the level at which it has remained since March 2016, the bank said on Thursday.

"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 -0.50% respectively," the ECB said in a statement.

The bank's governing council expects key ECB interest rates to "remain at their present levels until it sees inflation reaching 2%, well ahead of the end of its projection horizon and durably for the rest of the projection horizon," it added.

The bank also announced its decision to reinvest principal payments from maturing securities acquired under its pandemic emergency purchase programme (PEPP) at least until the end of 2024.

"In the event of renewed market fragmentation related to the pandemic, PEPP reinvestments can be adjusted flexibly across time, asset classes and jurisdictions at any time," the ECB stated, noting that "net purchases under the PEPP could also be resumed, if necessary, to counter negative shocks related to the pandemic.

"The ECB also confirmed that monthly net purchases under the Asset Purchase Program will be 40 billion euros ($43.5 billion) in April, 30 billion euros in May and 20 billion euros in June, with the program scheduled to conclude in the third quarter.

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