European Central Bank keeps rates on hold

Mario Draghi, president of the ECB, has today announced the decision to keep the bank's main refinancing rate at the historical low of zero. Draghi also signalled that the main decisions regarding the process of phasing out the 60 billion euros-a-month bond-buying scheme will be made in the next meeting in October. He said that the strong euro is weighing on the central bank's considerations about scaling back its monetary stimulus by acting as a 'source of uncertainty'. Growth forecasts were revised up from 1.9 per cent to 2.2 per cent for this year, while the stronger euro has caused the ECB to revise downwards its inflation forecasts for 2018 and 2019. Draghi's remarks on the euro led to its strengthening, while the decision to leave interest rates unchanged led European equity markets higher. European government bond yields dipped after the announcement, with debt benefiting from the rise in prices as yields fall.