Monthly Bulletin: "Based on its regular economic and monetary analyses, the Governing Council decided at its meeting on 6 December to keep the key ECB interest rates unchanged. Owing to high energy prices and increases in indirect taxes in some euro area countries, HICP inflation rates have been elevated for some time. More recently they have declined, as anticipated, and are expected to fall below 2% in 2013. Over the policy relevant horizon, inflation rates should remain in line with price stability. The underlying pace of monetary expansion continues to be subdued. Inflation expectations for the euro area remain firmly anchored in line with the Governing Councilís aim of maintaining inflation rates below, but close to, 2% over the medium term. The economic weakness in the euro area is expected to extend into next year. In particular, necessary balance sheet adjustments in financial and non-financial sectors and persistent uncertainty will continue to weigh on economic activity. Later in 2013 economic activity should gradually recover, as global demand strengthens and the ECBís accommodative monetary policy stance and significantly improved financial market confidence work their way through to the economy. In order to sustain confidence, it is essential for governments to reduce further both fiscal and structural imbalances and to proceed with financial sector restructuring."