FRANKFURT European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Thursday that the bank would keep a close eye on economic data over the coming weeks to judge what impact it would have on inflation.
"In the coming weeks, we will monitor very closely all the incoming information on economic and monetary developments, and assess the impact on the outlook for price stability," Draghi told a news conference.
He was speaking after the ECB left its main rate at a record low of 0.75 percent.
"Inflation rates have declined further as anticipated and price developments over the medium term should remain contained. Monetary and loan dynamics remain subdued," Draghi said, adding that monetary policy would remain accommodative as long as needed.
The euro zone's economic decline dragged on unabated in March, marked by a huge drop in French business activity that outstripped even the downturns in Spain and Italy, Markit's Eurozone Services PMI showed earlier on Thursday.
(Writing by Paul Carrel. Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.)