European Central Bank to curb stimulus amid darker outlook

EurDollar Notes

German bunds climb after ECB President Draghi maintains pessimism over global political chaos in Oct policy meeting

"The underlying strength of the economy continues to support our confidence that the sustained convergence of inflation to our aim will proceed and will be maintained even after a gradual winding down of our net asset purchases", he said.

At 8.30 a.m. ET (2.30 p.m. CET), ECB President Mario Draghi will speak to journalists about the central bank's announcements with eyes likely to be on the situation in Italy, which has seen the country's government clash with the European Union over its proposed budget.

Since the monthly asset purchase has been winding down, and will end by December this year, even if conditional - subject to incoming data confirming medium-term inflation outlook for the euro area, the European Central Bank will continue to provide significant monetary policy stimulus by the sizeable stock of acquired assets and the associated reinvestments, and by the "enhanced forward guidance".

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The comments appeared to confirm already solid expectations that the European Central Bank will not go back on its pledge to end bond purchases by the close of the year, even if the growth outlook continues to weaken.

Draghi spoke after the Governing Council confirmed it still expects to cap bond buying under its 2.6 trillion ($3 trillion) asset-purchase program at the end of the year.

The ECB has made clear it doesn't intend to back off on the basis of a few bits of data.

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He said rising bond yields were already eating into Italy's fiscal capacity, suggesting that attempts to raise spending would be counterproductive as investors will punish Rome for spending too much.

"I'm still confident an agreement will be found", Draghi added.

One reason for staying the course: the bank is continuing other means of support even after the bond purchases end, meaning monetary policy remains loose and interest rates low.

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But he admitted that the ECB doesn't have a "crystal ball" and that if sovereign bonds values slide further it will harm the capital positions of Italian banks.

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