The Latest: Draghi pushes back against US weak dollar view

Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, ECB, attends a press conference in the ECB headquarter in Frankfurt, Germany, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. (Arne Dedert/dpa via AP)

FRANKFURT, Germany — The Latest on the European Central Bank's monetary policy meeting (all times local):

4:00 p.m.

European Central Bank head Mario Draghi is pushing back against statements by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that a weaker dollar benefits the U.S.

Draghi was asked about recent U.S. administration statements on the dollar at a news conference Thursday and while not mentioning Mnuchin by name, he reiterated statements agreed by global financial issues that they will "refrain from competitive devaluations."

A weaker dollar also means a stronger euro, and that's a headache for Draghi. A stronger currency can hurt exporters, and makes it harder for the ECB to reach its goal of pushing inflation up from 1.4 percent annually to its goal of just under 2 percent.

Mnuchin said Wednesday that "obviously a weaker dollar is good for us as it relates to trade and opportunities."


2:55 p.m.

European Central Bank head Mario Draghi says the eurozone economy still needs support to keep raising the rate of inflation toward healthier levels.

Draghi said Thursday that "an ample degree" of stimulus support is still needed despite an increasingly robust economic recovery.

The bank says it will continue its 30 billion euros ($36 billion) in monthly bond purchases at least until September. The purchases push newly printed money into the economy in an attempt to raise inflation toward the bank's goal of just under 2 percent; right now it is 1.4 percent annually despite continuing growth.

Draghi spoke after the bank left its stimulus levels and interest rates unchanged.


2:45 p.m.

European Central Bank head Mario Draghi has cautioned markets that the ECB is watching the euro's exchange rate in an attempt to keep a lid on the currency.

Draghi said Thursday that recently volatility in the euro's exchange rate was "a source of uncertainty" that merited "monitoring."

He spoke after the bank left its stimulus levels and interest rates unchanged.

Speculation that the bank may end its bond-buying stimulus program in September has tended to push the euro high. The ECB has left the end date open. A higher euro could complicate life for the ECB by lessening already-weak inflation and hurting eurozone exports.

It was at a three-year high on Thursday around $1.24.


2:40 p.m.

European Central Bank head Mario Draghi says Europe's economic recovery is "robust."

Draghi told a news conference after the bank left its stimulus levels and interest rates unchanged that "a robust pace of economic expansion" accelerated more than expected in the second half of 2017.

Attention has been focused on when the bank will end the 30 billion euros ($36 billion) in bond purchases, a step that pushes newly printed money into the economy to raise inflation and support the recovery. The bank says the purchases will run through September, and longer if needed.

Strong economic data has people wondering whether the bank will be able to end the purchases in September or will choose to continue them, perhaps at a lower level.


1:45 p.m.

The European Central Bank has left its interest rates and policy statement unchanged amid predictions that it will soon start signaling an exit from its extraordinary stimulus efforts.

The bank's 25-member governing council did not change its stance that its 30 billion euros ($36 billion) in monthly bond purchases will run at least until September and longer if necessary. The purchases pump newly created money into the economy to raise inflation and growth in the wake of the 19 country eurozone's crisis over high debt in member countries such as Italy and Greece.

Analysts are waiting for the bank President Mario Draghi's news conference to see if he will offer any signal about whether the purchases will come to an abrupt end in September or continue, possibly at a lower pace.


10:40 a.m.

A survey of German business confidence has matched its all-time high, providing more upbeat data ahead of the European Central Bank's policy meeting.

The bank's governing council gathers as markets wait for clues from bank president Mario Draghi at a news conference on how long the ECB will continue its bond-purchase stimulus now that growth is strong.

The bank says it'll keep buying 30 billion euros ($36 billion) per month in bonds at least through September. The step pumps newly printed money into the economy to raise still-weak inflation. No changes are expected Thursday.

Germany's Ifo index rose to 117.6 points in January from 117.2 in December, matching an all-time high from November. The reading follows business activity surveys that also show a strong upswing in the 19-country eurozone.

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