ECB holds rates as inflation picks up slightly


FRANKFURT, Dec 5 (Reuters) - The European Central Bank leftits main interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.25 percenton Thursday, holding course after a pick-up in inflation and adrop in unemployment eased pressure on the bank to act again.

The decision to leave rates unchanged was widely expected.

The ECB held the deposit rate it pays on bank deposits at0.0 percent, and also left unchanged its marginal lendingfacility - or emergency borrowing rate - at 0.75 percent.

The central bank cut rates a month ago after euro zoneinflation tumbled to 0.7 percent in October. That rate picked upslightly to 0.9 percent in November, though remained well belowthe ECB's target of just under 2 percent.

Markets now turn their attention to ECB President MarioDraghi's 1330 GMT news conference, at which he will explain thereasoning behind this month's rate decision.

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