ECB maintains eurozone rates at 2%

The European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged on Thursday 8 January as widely expected, defying calls that cheaper money is needed to prevent a strong euro from hurting economic recovery.

The ECB is expected to hold its key rate at 2.0 per cent until well into this year, confident that the recovery is strong enough to bear the euro's surge.

But before Thursday's ECB Council meeting German Economy Minister Wolfgang Clement led calls for lower rates to offset the currency's dampening e