European Central Bank cuts benchmark interest rate to 0%

The European Central Bank cut all its interest rates and expanded its monthly bond purchases by a third as President Mario Draghi strives to fend off the threat of euro-area deflation, Bloomberg reports.

The 25-member Governing Council, meeting in Frankfurt on Thursday, cut the rate on cash parked overnight by banks by 10 basis points to minus 0.4 percent, and its benchmark rate to zero. Bond purchases were raised to 80 billion euros ($87 billion) a month, starting in April, and corporate bonds will now be eligible. Draghi will hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. local time.

Market expectations for more stimulus had risen after the ECB said it would review its program as persistent weakness in consumer prices and a Chinese slowdown threaten to undermine the euro-area recovery.

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