The European Central Bank (ECB) on Thursday decided to leave interest rates unchanged at its monetary policy meeting here. The interest rates on the main refinancing operations in April, the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility will remain unchanged at 0.25 percent, 0.75 percent and 0.00 percent respectively, according to a statement released by the ECB. Euro area annual inflation is expected to be 0.5 percent in March 2014, down from 0.7 percent in February, according to a flash estimate from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union earlier. "Incoming information confirms that the moderate recovery of the euro area economy is proceeding in line with our previous assessment," said Mario Draghi, the ECB president. He repeated that the ECB expected low inflation in the euro area to last for a prolonged period, followed by a gradual upward movement. "Looking ahead, we will monitor developments very closely and will consider all instruments available to us," said Draghi. "We are resolute in our determination to maintain a high degree of monetary accommodation and to act swiftly if required," he said. With regard to future monetary policy stance, Draghi said that the possibility of further monetary policy easing would not be excluded, and adding that "we continue to expect the key ECB interest rates to remain at present or lower levels for an extended period of time." "The Governing Council is unanimous in its commitment to using also unconventional instruments within its mandate in order to cope effectively with risks of a too prolonged period of low inflation," said Draghi.