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ECB leaves benchmark interest rate unchanged

(AP) FRANKFURT, Germany - The European Central Bank leaves its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0.75 percent, holding off on further stimulus for the slowing eurozone economy.

Markets and analysts are focused instead on bank President Mario Draghi's news conference later Thursday, where he is expected to give further details about the bank's efforts to lower borrowing costs for heavily indebted governments.

The bank has said it is willing to buy up the government bonds of struggling countries such as Spain and Italy, this would lower their borrowing costs.

But the ECB expects them to first ask for help from the eurozone bailout fund. Markets want to know other key details, such as how big the purchases could be, and what kind of conditions would come attached to the help.

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