July 20, 2017 / 11:50 AM / 6 months ago

ECB keeps stimulus pledge despite stronger growth

FRANKFURT, July 20 (Reuters) - The European Central Bank reaffirmed its ultra-easy policy stance on Thursday and even kept the door open to boosting its bond purchases if needed, despite an upswing in the euro zone’s economy.

The ECB kept rates at record low and confirmed its asset-buying programme would continue at 60 billion euros ($69.15 billion) per month at least until December and could be expanded or extended if deemed necessary.

Investors have been looking for hints that the ECB may start reducing the scheme since President Mario Draghi said late last month that policy tweaks were possible to accompany the euro zone’s economic recovery.

The ECB also kept its rate on bank overnight deposits, which is currently its primary interest rate tool, at -0.40 percent, as expected.

The main refinancing rate, which determines the cost of credit in the economy, was unchanged at 0.00 percent while the rate on the marginal lending facility - or emergency overnight borrowing rate for banks - remains at 0.25 percent.

Attention now turns to Draghi’s press conference, due to start at 1230 GMT. ($1 = 0.8677 euros) (Reporting By Francesco Canepa Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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