Sept 05 - The European Central Bank has left its key interest rates unchanged at record lows, as ECB chief Mario Draghi says risks surrounding the economic outlook for the euro area continue to be on the downside. (Rough cut - no reporter narration).
The European Central Bank has left its main interest rate unchanged at 0.5 per cent. (SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) ECB PRESIDENT MARIO DRAGHI SAYING: "The governing council confirms that it expects the key ECB interest rates to remain at present or lower levels for an extended period of time." European shares rose and the euro weakened on the news that rates will remain low for some time to come, in the face of downside risks to growth. (SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) ECB PRESIDENT MARIO DRAGHI SAYING: "Our monetary policy stance will remain accommodative for as long as necessary." Draghi said recent developments in financial and monetary markets may negatively affect economic conditions, and alluded to the impact of Middle East tensions. (SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) ECB PRESIDENT MARIO DRAGHI SAYING: "The risks surrounding the economic outlook for the euro area continue to be on the downside. Recent developments in global financial and money market conditions and related uncertainties may have the potential to negatively affect economic conditions. Other downside risks include higher commodity prices in the context of renewed geopolitical tensions, weaker than expected global demand and slow or insufficient implementation of structural reforms in euro area countries." He also said the Governing Council did discuss a possible rate cut at its monthly meeting, partly due to concern about money market rates and the uncertain 'very green' nature of the recovery.