ECB Keeps Rates on Hold at Record Low

BERLIN (AP) -- European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is set to face tough questions Thursday over the rapid rise in the value of the euro and its effect on Europe's economic recovery after its monthly policy meeting decided to leave interest rates unchanged.

Following action by other central banks around the world, the value of the euro has risen on the international currency markets in recent weeks. A higher euro will mean exports from the 17 European Union countries that use the single currency would cost more, threatening the eurozone's faltering recovery.

Investors and analysts will be looking for an indication from Draghi how much further the euro could rise before it sparks concern -- or even action in the form of a rate cut -- from the ECB.

Draghi is also expected to be questioned on the ECB's response to Ireland liquidating one of its "bad banks" in an emergency measure designed to pave the way for a new debt-repayment deal with the ECB.

The ECB decided to leave its main interest rate at 0.75 percent, a record low. Even though the eurozone economy is in recession, there have been positive recent signals from forward-looking surveys, which likely played a large factor in the bank's decision.

Draghi has been widely praised for helping to ease market concerns over Europe's debt problems.


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