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Photograph: Photo by Michael Elleray, used under CC BY

The European Central Bank is expected to leave interest rates on hold Thursday, but could signal plans for further monetary action in the coming months amid a sharp fall in oil prices and worries about global economic uncertainties.

Six weeks ago, ECB chief Mario Draghi unveiled a new package of monetary stimulus measures aimed at jump-starting inflation in the eurozone and firing up the 19-member currency bloc's economy.

But, since then, a renewed slide in oil prices and financial market turbulence unleashed by worries about China have raised doubts about the ECB's chances of reaching its 2-per-cent inflation target and building on the eurozone's recent modest economic performance.

Analysts expect that the ECB will announce Thursday that it will leave its benchmark refinancing rate on hold at 0.05 per cent.

Many analysts also believe that Draghi could hint at his press conference at further measures in the coming months, such as expanding the ECB's bond-buying programme or trimming interest rates again if both economic growth and inflation fall short of its forecasts.

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