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European Central Bank leaves benchmark interest rate at 0.25 percent but says ready to act


A construction worker empties a truck with debris next to the Bank of Portugal headquarters in Lisbon, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. Glimmers of hope emerged Wednesday for the eurozone economy to suggest that the coming year will see the recovery gathering steam. Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, said the eurozone's unemployment rate held steady in November at a record 12.1 percent for the eighth month running after a modest 4.000 rise in the ranks of the jobless to 19.24 million. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco) (The Associated Press)

European Central Bank head Mario Draghi says the bank is ready to "take further decisive action" using "all available tools" to spur a weak recovery.

Still, the ECB took no action Thursday, leaving its key interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.25 percent.

The eurozone economy grew only 0.1 percent in the third quarter. Draghi has said the bank intends to keep rates at current or lower levels for an extended period of time.

Some indicators of business activity suggest the recovery in the 18-country eurozone is strengthening. But inflation is low at only 0.8 percent, raising fears the eurozone could fall into a deflationary spiral, in which falling prices choke off growth.