ECB keeps rates on hold despite worst euro zone GDP

The European Central Bank (ECB) has chosen to keep its main interest rates unchanged on Thursday, as the euro zone faces a deep economic crisis.

However it did ease conditions for bank and stress that it is ready to buy more government bonds if needed.

The decision came on the same day that data revealed the 19-member region’s economy contracted by 3.8 percent in the first quarter — the lowest reading since records began in 1995 — as the coronavirus pandemic hit business activity in the region hard.

The ECB has already deployed a massive stimulus package to mitigate some of the economic shock. In March, the central bank started purchasing governments bonds as part of a 750-billion-euro ($813 billion) package and has reduced costs for commercial banks to support lending activity.

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