The Latest: ECB sticks to stimulus plans as Draghi bows out

Finance and Business

Red lights shine from the European Central Bank ahead of President Mario Draghi chairing his last ECB policy meeting in Frankfurt, Germany, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The Latest on the European Central Bank and Mario Draghi’s last new conference as its president (all times local):

1:50 p.m.

The European Central Bank has left unchanged its key interest rates and stuck to its previously announced stimulus programs as Mario Draghi wraps up eight years as president.

The bank said Thursday it was keeping the rate on overnight deposits from banks at minus 0.5%. That rate was trimmed from minus 0.4% in September, when the ECB also announced it would restart its bond-buying stimulus program, purchasing 20 billion euros ($22 billion) per month starting Nov. 1, indefinitely.

Thursday’s meeting is the last as president for Draghi, who will later hold a news conference. He will hand over to former International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde on Nov. 1.

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6:00 a.m.

European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi, whose vow to do “whatever it takes” is seen as a turning point in the eurozone’s debt crisis, presides over his last policy meeting and news conference Thursday amid questions about unusually strong internal opposition to the latest stimulus package that will be part of his legacy.

Joining the meeting of the 25-member governing council as an observer will be Draghi’s designated successor, former International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde, who takes office Nov. 1 after being chosen for the post by eurozone governments.

No changes in key interest rates or the bond-purchase program are expected at Thursday’s meeting. The eurozone economy is slowing amid uncertainty over the U.S.-China trade dispute and the terms of Britain’s eventual departure from the European Union.

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