ECB cautious but optimistic on EU economy

Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB), has today told press that, despite being 'cautious' following weaker economic data in 2018 compared to 2017, there was confidence in continued strength in the euro area and that inflation will likely rise and stay near the 2% target. Interest rates, as widely expected for now, have been kept on hold, however, and no end to the partially tapered quantitative easing (QE) programme was announced. Additionally, a strengthening euro currency was not discussed which has been creating a headwind for the economy maintaining the same level of momentum as 2017. Shortly after the comments, the euro fell against major currency peers whilst European government bonds were being bought. Despite this move into less risky government debt, European equities continued to remain strongly up for the day, suggesting the move towards bonds might be based on easing expectations of the ECB tightening monetary policy in the near future.