U.S. Government Bonds Strengthen After ECB Announcement

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The bank said that the stimulus programme's bond purchases would be halved to €15bn per month from October.

In the London session, the dollar was trading broadly weaker before the European Central Bank decision in the wake of the Fed's rate hikes, with future rate rises now priced in with a growing view that U.S. economic strength could be nearing its peak, analysts said.

The common currency shed 1.9% to the dollar after the rate comments, in its sharpest daily fall in the nearly two years since the Brexit vote shock in 2016.

The meeting comes one day after the U.S. central bank raised rates, citing May's jobs report as a sign that the American economy continues to improve.

European markets were mixed, while stocks in Asia were mostly lower.

On Friday, however, the outlook for the euro appeared somewhat brighter as banks adjusted their forecasts for interest rates to the ECB's guidance, removing some uncertainty from the market.

EURUSD initially spiked higher on the apparent hawkishness before paring those gains and heading back below 1.18 to trade on the 1.1740 level, said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst for Markets.com. After lifting interest rates to 2pc, its policymakers geared markets up for two more increases in borrowing rates in the United States this year through its dotplot projections.

Americans have long hoped for a peaceful denuclearization of North Korea
In follow-up talks on the establishment of new relations, the USA and North Korea will likely hold discussions on ending hostilities.

According to reports, U.S. President Trump has made up his mind to impose "pretty significant" tariffs on Chinese goods, an administration said on Thursday, as Beijing warned that it was ready to respond if Washington chose to ratchet up trade tensions. Draghi said it would be "subject to incoming data", and that the European Central Bank would keep rates at record lows for "as long as necessary", with the aim of achieving 2% inflation over the medium term.

Today's monetary policy decisions maintain the current ample degree of monetary accommodation that the central bank hopes will ensure the continued sustained convergence of inflation towards levels that are below, but close to, 2% over the medium term. The central banks are withdrawing stimulus efforts that started during the Great Recession as their economies strengthen.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index ended 1.2 per cent higher as the Xetra Dax in Frankfurt jumped 1.7 per cent and the FTSE 100 in London gained 0.8 per cent.

On the other hand, the Fed signaled on Wednesday that it would raise rates twice before the end of the year and as many as three times in 2019.

There's also a political challenge in the form of Italy's new government and weakening export demand.

Oil prices were little changed as investors eyed a key Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting in Vienna.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 23 cents to $66.87 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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