- The European Central Bank held its benchmark interest rate at a record low in March, despite growing concerns over deflationary pressures in the region, it announced on Thursday.

The ECB said it was maintaining its benchmark interest rate at a record-low 0.25%, in line with market expectations. The central bank also held its marginal lending at 0.75% and left its deposit facility rate unchanged at 0.0%.

ECB president Mario Draghi was to comment on the decision at a press conference later in the day.

Market participants will scrutinize Draghi’s comments for clues in regards to the central bank''s next course of action in dealing with an ongoing sovereign debt crisis.

Following the announcement, the euro turned higher against the U.S. dollar, with EUR/USD adding 0.05% to trade at 1.3773, compared to 1.3756 ahead of the announcement.

Meanwhile, European stock markets remained mixed. The Euro Stoxx 50 shed 0.05%, France’s CAC 40 dipped 0.15%, Germany''s DAX fell 0.2%, while London’s FTSE 100 inched up 0.1%.

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