The European Central Bank (ECB) Thursday cut its main interest rate by 25 basis points to 1% and is likely to unveil more measures to boost the economy of the euro area.

It was the fourth such decision this year made by the Frankfurt-based bank that sets monetary policy for countries that share the euro currency.

The ECB's president Jean-Claude Trichet said that the decision to reduce rates was taken according to the data showing that the euro area's first quarter performance was much weaker than expected and it will not exclude further rate cuts.

He said the ECB will launch a purchasing program, a form of investment backed by a package of smaller instruments such as mortgages or credit card payments.

That program would be worth about 60 billion euros. He said the ECB is still working on the technical details for how it will function and would make an announcement on 4 June.

The ECB also decided to give the European Investment Bank (EIB) access to its loan facilities that would enable it to fill a potential funding gap this year.

The EIB estimates that the ECB facility could allow it to issue an extra 10 billion euros in loans this year.

Markets are looking to Thursday’s press conference with ECB president for further information about measures to get more money flowing through the economy.