The ECB held its key interest rates unchanged on Thursday, as expected. The rate on the ECB's marginal lending facility stands at 0.25 percent, with the rate on the deposit facility at -0.4 percent. The fixed rate on the ECB's main refinancing operations remains at zero. The ECB last moved rates in March, when it cut the rate on the marginal lending facility by 5 basis points.
Despite the ECB's monetary stimulus program - which includes low or negative rates, low-interest loans to banks and a trillion-euro bond-buying program - the euro zone's economic growth and inflation rate remain stubbornly low.
On Thursday, the central bank raised its economic growth outlook for the euro zone slightly for 2016, but cut it for 2017 and 2018. It now sees growth in the 19-country bloc averaging 1.7 percent this year, having previously forecast 1.6 percent growth. It forecasts expansion of 1.6 percent in 2017 and 2018, down from its June forecast of 1.7 percent in both years.
The central bank's 2016 inflation forecast was held at 0.2 percent and its 2018 estimate stayed at 1.6 percent. However, it cut its 2017 forecast to 1.2 percent from 1.3 percent.
"We will preserve the very substantial amount of monetary support that is embedded in our staff projections and that is necessary to secure a return to inflation," Draghi said in his statement.