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European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi gives his routine press conference following the bank's latest monetary policy decision. The institution has outlined its intention to end its massive stimulus program by the end of 2018, but hold interest rates until next summer.
The bank said Thursday that if incoming data followed its forecasts, then its monthly bond purchasing scheme would be extended through to the final quarter of the year, though at a lower pace. Previously, quantitative easing (QE) was scheduled to last until September, carrying monthly purchases of 30 billion euros ($35 billion) of government and private debt. This will now be reduced to 15 billion euros during the last three months of 2018.
Euro zone fundamentals look positive, with recent headline inflation coming in stronger-than-expected and close to the ECB's target, thanks to a higher oil price. While a recent political deadlock in Italy looks to have stabilized, clouds do loom on the horizon in the shape of a U.S.-EU trade spat.