European Central Bank leaves benchmark interest rate at record-low 1% in anticipation of mild recession

FRANKFURT, Germany , February 9, 2012 () – The European Central Bank has left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low 1.0 percent.

The bank has now left rates alone for two straight meetings while it waits to see whether the eurozone economy needs more help from further cuts. Many economist predict at least a mild recession.

It has meanwhile extended emergency loans to banks to strengthen the financial sector against the debt crisis.

Bank President Mario Draghi will face questions at a news conference later about whether the bank will contribute to a new bailout for Greece by giving up profits on Greek government bonds it own.

The Bank of England also left rates unchanged but announced it would buy another 50 billion pounds in bonds to stimulate the British economy.

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