European Central Bank holds rates as uncertainties grow

European Central Bank holds rates as uncertainties grow
The European Central Bank, left, and other banks and office buildings are seen in Frankfurt, Germany, before sunrise on Friday, March 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The European Central Bank has kept its policy promises, interest rates and stimulus settings unchanged as officials weigh looming risks to the economy from Brexit and trade disputes.

The bank, the chief monetary authority for the 19 European Union countries that use the euro as their currency, is facing a conundrum: sagging trade and manufacturing are slowing the economy, though an improving jobs market is propping it up.

Analysts are waiting to hear ECB President Mario Draghi speak at a news conference Thursday, searching for hints about whether the bank will add more monetary stimulus in coming months. Some analysts think the bank may eventually push back the earliest date for an interest rate increase from the end of the year into next year.