Summary Box: ECB keeps interest rates low

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Feb. 9 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

The President of the European Central Bank , Mario Draghi, laughs during a press conference in Frankfurt, central Germany, Thursday Feb. 9, 2012. The European Central Bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low 1 percent on Thursday while it waits to see whether the economy needs more help as the 17 countries that use the euro struggle with a debt crisis and likely recession.

Thomas Lohnes, AP Photo/dapd

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LAYING LOW: The European Central Bank kept its key interest rate at a record low of 1 percent on Thursday as it waits to see if the 17-nation eurozone needs more help to stave off recession.

THE BACKDROP: Many economists think the eurozone economy shrank in the fourth quarter and is going through a period of weakness, with the main question being how deep will the downturn be and how quickly things will pick up again.

WILD CARD: ECB President Mario Draghi dodged questions about whether the bank could help Greece lighten its debt load by getting involved in a bond write-down deal being negotiated with creditors.

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