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ECB maintains rates at Draghi's last monetary policy meeting

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ECB maintains rates at Draghi's last monetary policy meeting

The European Central Bank maintained its rates, as expected, marking the last monetary policy decision under Mario Draghi's presidency.

The ECB maintained the interest rate on the main refinancing operations and rates on the marginal lending and deposit facilities at 0.00%, 0.25% and negative 0.50%, respectively.

The rates are expected to remain at their present or lower levels until inflation converges to the central bank's target of close to, but below, 2%.

The asset purchase program will begin from Nov. 1 at a monthly pace of €20 billion, as announced last month, when the ECB lowered its rate on the deposit facility as part of a much-anticipated stimulus package. The program will run for as long as needed and end "shortly before" it starts hiking rates.

The central bank will be led by Christine Lagarde from Nov. 1.

Eurozone economic growth remained close to stagnation, as the manufacturing downturn continued and the service sector expanded at one of the weakest rates since 2014, according to IHS Markit.

Nordea Markets' Inge Klaver, Anders Svendsen and Tuuli Koivu expect further ECB policy easing in December given subdued economic growth, with another rate cut and an expansion of the asset purchase program.