Draghi: economic outlook weak, not improving

FRANKFURT Thu Nov 8, 2012 12:31pm EST

1 of 6. European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi gestures during a news conference in Frankfurt, November 8, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Lisi Niesner

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The European Central Bank expects the euro zone economy to remain poor, ECB President Mario Draghi said after the bank left interest rates unchanged on Thursday.

"Economic activity in the euro area is expected to remain weak," Draghi told his regular monthly news conference after the ECB held its main interest rate at 0.75 percent.

He noted that recent economic surveys did not signal any improvement heading to the end of the year.

Highlighting weakness in the economy, German business confidence fell last month to its lowest since February 2010 and euro zone manufacturing shrank for the 15th month running

Draghi reiterated the ECB's view that inflation, which eased to an estimated 2.5 percent in October, would fall below 2 percent next year. The central bank targets inflation of close to but below 2 percent.

(Writing by Paul Carrel. Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.)