European Central Bank leaves key interest rate at record low of 0.75 percent despite recession

The European Central Bank has left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.75 percent, holding off on further stimulus even though the euro area remains stuck in recession.

The decision came Thursday at a meeting of the bank's 23-member governing council at its headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany.

Markets are now waiting to hear ECB head Mario Draghi's outlook for the economy of the 17 European Union countries that use the euro. He's also likely to underline the need for indebted countries such as Italy to meet tough conditions if they want to tap the ECB's offer of help in lowering their borrowing costs.

No political party won clear control in Italy's election last month, raising fears that the recent calm in the eurozone could be undermined.