LIVE: Mario Draghi Takes Questions At The Monthly ECB Press Conference

UPDATE: The ECB press conference has begun.

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ECB president Mario Draghi is delivering his address before he takes questions.

Draghi says the economy should gradually recover later in 2013, and that early indicators have stabilized at low levels.

Draghi says the risks to the economic outlook are on the downside, and are related to the debt crisis and geopolitical tensions.

However, risks to the inflation outlook are broadly balanced, says Draghi.

Draghi notes that the deposit base has strengthened in certain euro area countries.

Draghi says the soundness of bank balance sheets will be key in strengthening channels of monetary policy transmission, and the Single Supervisory Mechanism is a step in this direction.

Draghi says the recent significant decline in sovereign bond yields should be bolstered by continued fiscal reform.

The Q&A is now beginning.

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Mario Draghi says the decision to leave interest rates on hold was unanimous.

Draghi cites stronger capital inflows into the euro area, TARGET2 balances that have gone down, and stronger deposit bases as signs that financial fragmentation is being gradually repaired.

However, Draghi admits that the real economy continues to be weak.

Draghi dismisses a question about Ireland qualifying for OMT, saying he has already discussed those qualifications many times.

Draghi says the ECB is not thinking about an exit from non-standard monetary policy measures right now, but that we will see it when the economy is ready to exit.

Draghi says there was no request for a rate cut at today's meeting.

The euro is gaining against the dollar.

Draghi says we will see better credit conditions in the course of 2013, and the reforms will find their way through the economy.

Draghi says that bank funding conditions right now are satisfactory; that's not where the problem is, contrary to the beginning of last year when the ECB launched LTROs.

Draghi says each central bank has its own institutional setup, statutory objectives, and mandate.

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EARLIER: The ECB voted to leave the benchmark refinancing rate unchanged at 0.75 percent this month, as expected.

The deposit rate was left unchanged at 0 percent and the marginal lending facility was also unchanged at 1.5 percent.

Next up is ECB President Mario Draghi's press conference at 8:30 AM. Click here for LIVE updates >

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ORIGINAL: Heads up – the ECB announces its January interest rate decision at 7:45 AM ET. ECB President Mario Draghi will hold a press conference and take questions from reporters at 8:30 AM.

The consensus call is that the ECB will leave interest rates unchanged at today's meeting given recent improvements in euro area economic data, but cuts were "widely discussed" at the last meeting.

For an in-depth preview of the release, click here >

We will have LIVE coverage of the 7:45 release and the press conference. Click here for updates >



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