Mario DraghiREUTERS/Francois LenoirEuropean Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi testifies before the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee in Brussels December 16, 2013.

As expected, the European Central Bank elected to leave the euro area benchmark refinancing rate unchanged at 0.25%, the rate on the marginal lending facility unchanged at 0.75%, and the overnight deposit rate unchanged at 0%.

Next up is ECB president Mario Draghi’s monthly press conference and Q&A with reporters beginning at 8:30.

“We do not expect any action from the ECB on Thursday as macro indicators have remained consistent with a gradual recovery and tensions in interbank markets have eased in the New Year,” says Frederik Ducrozet, a senior eurozone economist at Crédit Agricole.

“Beyond January, the bar for radical action (negative rates; asset purchases) remains high, in our view, but the ECB will stand ready to counter any unwarranted tightening in monetary conditions. A further strengthening of the forward guidance remains on the radar. Fighting financial fragmentation — for example through a targeted LTRO — looks desirable despite significant implementation risks.”

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