Czech central bank keeps rates at record low

The Czech central bank (CNB) said it had left its lending rates unchanged at record-low levels at a meeting on Thursday, keeping its key two-week rate at 0.05 percent.

"The two-week repo rate stays at 0.05 percent, the (overnight) discount rate at 0.05 percent and the (overnight) Lombard rate at 0.25 percent," the bank said in a statement.

Analysts polled by the CTK news agency this week expected the move amid forecasts of continued recession this year.

"The current economic developments speak clearly against any increase in lending rates in the foreseeable future," said Miroslav Novak, an analyst with stock brokerage Akcenta.

Heavily dependent on car production and exports, the Czech economy contracted by 1.2 percent last year amid drag from the eurozone.

The CNB has forecast an additional contraction of 0.3 percent this year before business activity picks up by around 2.1 percent in 2014.

An EU member of 10.5 million people, the Czech Republic has vowed not to join the eurozone until the 17-member single European currency bloc overcomes its debt woes.