Euro strength likely to be a focus as European Central Bank poised to keep rates on hold

The European Central Bank is expected to withstand pressure from hard-pressed businesses to cut interest rates again when it meets Thursday.

Even though the economy of the 17 European Union countries that use the euro is in recession, there have been positive recent signals from forward-looking surveys.

As a result, the central bank, headed by Mario Draghi, is expected to keep its benchmark interest rate at the record low of 0.75 percent.

At his ensuing press conference, Draghi is likely to face questions about the recent strength of the euro. The appreciating currency stands to make life even more difficult for Europe's exporters.

Draghi has been widely praised for helping to ease market concerns over Europe's debt problems.

The Bank of England is also expected to keep rates on hold.