The European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged despite slightly lowering its outlook for the ailing Eurozone economy for the remainder of 2013. But, it sees a gradual recovery in 2014.
The ECB forecasts Eurozone GDP will contract by 0.6% this year, down from its March projection of 0.5%. However, it modified its 2014 estimates, predicting a return to growth at a rate of 1.1%.
"Euro-area economic activity should stabilize and recover on the course of the year albeit at a subdued pace," ECB President Mario Draghi said at a news conference.
The region has been stuck in recessionary mode for six consecutive quarters. But Draghi cited improving economic data in May as reasons for not taking immediate action.
"But we stand ready to act, and we will continue to monitor closely all incoming data," Draghi said at a news conference. He added the ECB would remain "accommodative" for as long as necessary.
Draghi also staunchly defended the ECB's actions, saying the bank's outright monetary transactions launched last year were "probably the most successfully monetary policy measure undertaken in recent times."
Draghi said the policy had no negative affect on markets.
"The ECB hasn't done anything to increase volatility in the markets," Draghi said. "If you think the ECB has done anything comparable to other central banks, we wouldn't agree."
After today's ECB briefing, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.4% to 294.04, setting it on pace to close at the lowest level since late April. Banks suffered some of the steepest losses.
European bond yields plunged the most in three months, with Portugal taking the worst hit.