"Economic activity in the euro area is expected to remain weak," Draghi told a news conference after the ECB held its main interest rate at 0.75%.

He noted that recent economic surveys did not signal any improvement heading to the end of the year.

However hopes that a further interest cut was on the horizon were dashed even as German business confidence fell last month to its lowest since 2010 and euro zone manufacturing shrank for the 15th month in a row.

While the ECB could "theoretically" cut its deposit rate below zero to add stimulus, it may not be feasible,

ECB executive board member Benoit Coeure said.

"There are probably limits to the efficiency of further cuts in the deposit rates," he added.

Policymakers in July reduced the base rate to a record low of 0.75pc. That's sparked a debate about whether the ECB is willing to take interest rates into a territory few central banks have dared to venture.

Draghi reiterated the ECB's view that inflation, which eased to an estimated 2.5% in October, would fall below 2% next year. The ECB targets inflation of close to but below 2%.