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The Latest: ECB cuts inflation forecasts

Posted September 7

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

2:45 p.m.

European Central Bank head Mario Draghi says recent exchange rate volatility "requires monitoring" and is a source of "uncertainty."

Markets had been waiting to see whether Draghi would try to talk the euro down after its 14 percent rise this year to $1.20

A stronger euro can hurt eurozone exports and lower inflation which the ECB is trying to raise through its 60 billion euros ($72 billion) per month in bond purchases.

The ECB also lowered its forecasts for inflation — to 1.2 percent next year from 1.3 percent previously and to 1.5 percent in 2019 from 1.6 percent. However, it raised its economic growth forecast this year to 2.2 percent from 1.9 percent previously.

Draghi's statement came after the bank's 25-member governing council decided to leave interest rates and the bond purchases unchanged. They are slated to run through the end of the year, and longer if necessary. Markets expect they will be phased out next yewar as the economy improves.

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1:45 p.m.

The European Central Bank has left its key interest rates and bond-purchase stimulus program unchanged.

The decision was announced after a meeting Thursday of the bank's 25-member governing council in Frankfurt.

The bond purchases are set to run at 60 billion euros ($72 billion) per month through the end of the year, and longer if needed to raise inflation from the current 1.5 percent toward the bank's goal of just under 2 percent.

The ECB left its benchmark short-term interest rate at zero, and its deposit rate at negative 0.4 percent, both record lows.

Markets are waiting to hear remarks by ECB President Mario Draghi about the expected phase-out of the bond-purchase stimulus next year as the economy improves.

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11:40 a.m.

Markets are waiting to see whether European Central Bank President Mario Draghi will try to talk the euro down as he discusses the future of stimulus for the 19-country eurozone economy.

Draghi is slated to hold a news conference after Thursday's meeting of the bank's 25-member governing council.

The rise in the currency's exchange rate is complicating life for the central bank. The exchange rate has risen 14 percent this year to $1.20, and that could hurt exports and lower inflation, which the ECB is trying to raise.

So far, Draghi has not expressed public concern and analysts are speculating he may now use the news conference to address the issue.

The euro is up on expectations that the ECB will begin scaling back its bond-purchase stimulus beginning in January.

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