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updated: 8/1/2013 1:29 PM

ECB rates unchanged amid hopes for recession's end

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Associated Press

FRANKFURT, Germany -- The European Central Bank has left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.5 percent.

The bank held off on further efforts to stimulate Europe's lagging economy after recent indicators suggested the recession might soon be coming to an end in the 17 European Union countries that use the euro.

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Markets will scrutinize statements by bank President Mario Draghi at his news conference later Thursday for indications about the bank's future course. Draghi last month tried to add more clarity by saying the bank would keep rates low "for an extended period."

He has also proposed publishing minutes of the rate deliberations on the ECB's 23-member governing council -- along the same lines as the U.S. Federal Reserve, Bank of England and Bank of Japan.

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