European Central Bank will stop its bond-buying scheme, €30bn a month, next December

ECB calls halt to quantitative easing, despite 'soft' euro

ECB calls halt to quantitative easing, despite 'soft' euro

Following the central bank's policy meeting, Draghi said, "We didn't discuss when to raise rates".

Markets are on the lookout for clues from Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda's post-meeting briefing at 6.30am GMT on how long the central bank could hold off on whittling down stimulus given stubbornly weak inflation.

The European Central Bank has announced plans to wrap up its massive stimulus program at the end of 2018.

Investors, though, seized on comments indicating that interest rates would stay at record lows at least through the summer of 2019, and some analysts believed it might be longer. The common currency shed 1.9 per cent to the dollar, its biggest daily decline since Britain voted to quit the European Union in 2016.

Brent crude, the global standard, fell 13 cents to $75.81 per barrel.

Benefiting from the ECB's decision were stock markets on both sides of the Atlantic. Sterling was 0.7 per cent softer versus the greenback at $1.3281 and up 1 per cent against the euro, with a pound buying €1.1456, after data from the Office for National Statistics showed that retail sales climbed 1.3 per cent in May from April.

"The hawks had been guiding for a June hike before the [ECB] meeting and, given the clear guidance the European Central Bank gave today on interest rates, it had to be priced out", said AFS Group analyst Arne Petimezas. S&P futures fell 0.4 percent while Dow futures dropped 0.6 percent.

As widely expected, the Fed lifted key overnight borrowing costs by a quarter percentage point for a second time this year, to between 1.75 and 2.00 percent.

The single currency gained 0.2 percent to $1.1811 EUR= on Thursday, close to three-week highs. The latter is threatening to break off trade talks if the USA continues to impose tariffs on the world's second largest economy.

U.S. President Donald Trump is due to unveil revisions to his initial tariff list targeting $50 billion of Chinese goods, and focus was on whether the revisions would ease or further fuel trade tensions. "Policy differentials should stabilise, positioning is more balanced, we're sticking to our year-end outlook $1.25-$1.26", he said.

CBOT July corn fell to its lowest since mid-January and front-month soybeans dipped to a 9-1/2 month low.

'China could be a little bit upset about trade because we are very strongly clamping down', the President told Fox News in an interview yesterday, flummoxing investors that had hoped that fruitful negotiations would remove the need for more tariff threats.

Elsewhere, the Canadian dollar edged lower against its U.S. counterpart as the greenback broadly climbed and after Italy added to Canada's uncertain trade outlook, saying it will not ratify the European Union's free trade accord with the country.

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