The European Central Bank kept its main interest rate on hold at a record low of 1.0 percent for the fourteenth month running on Thursday, as expected by economists.

The ECB also kept its overnight deposit rate, which acts as a floor for money markets, at 0.25 percent and left its marginal lending rate at 1.75 percent.

All 76 economists in a recent Reuters poll expected the ECB to keep rates on hold this month and on average see the first rise in the third quarter of next year.

Markets will now turn their attention to ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet's news conference at 1230 GMT, when he will explain the decision and whether the ECB will use further tools to help the financial system and the economy at large.

(Reporting by Sakari Suoninen)