ECB holds and reiterates that rates won't change until next summer

Mario DraghiECB president Mario Draghi.REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

The European Central Bank on Thursday left monetary policy in the eurozone unchanged once again, as had been widely expected by financial markets.

That means a base deposit rate of -0.4%, and a quantitative easing program capped at €15 billion per month, down from €30 billion up until the end of September - a change that had been telegraphed for several months.

The ECB remains on track to cease purchasing bonds from the end of 2018, it said, reaffirming its long held stance on the matter.

At 8.30 a.m. ET (2.30 p.m. CET), ECB President Mario Draghi will speak to journalists about the central bank's announcements with eyes likely to be on the situation in Italy, which has seen the country's government clash with the EU over its proposed budget.

Earlier in the week, the EU took the unprecedented step of formally rejecting Italy's budget, which proposed pushing the country's budget deficit as high as 2.4% of gross domestic product over the coming years. This means Italy would fall foul of a previously mandated maximum deficit level of 0.8% of GDP.

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