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ECB leaves key rate at 0.75 percent

FRANKFURT, Germany — The European Central Bank has left its key interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.75 percent.

The bank decided to hold off on further stimulus despite signs that a hoped-for recovery may be delayed for the group of 17 European Union countries that use the euro.

Surveys of services and manufacturing purchasing managers suggest the eurozone’s economy shrank in the first quarter of 2013, for the sixth three-month period in a row. Unemployment is at 12 percent. The ECB has said it expects a gradual improvement later this year.

ECB officials have indicated a rate cut might do little additional good. They worry that the current low benchmark rate is not being passed on to companies because of troubled bank finances in heavily indebted eurozone countries.

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