- Associated Press - Thursday, July 26, 2018

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) - The Latest on the European Central Bank’s monetary policy meeting (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

The head of the European Central Bank says the agreement struck between the European Union and the U.S. to defuse trade tensions is “a good sign.”

EU Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed on Wednesday to try to reduce tariffs, putting on hold any U.S. threat to put duties on European cars. The sides said they would also try to find a way to eliminate tariffs on steel and aluminum that they put on each other this year.

ECB President Mario Draghi limited his comments Thursday because he said he did not know all the content of what was agreed upon but added that “it shows that there is a willingness to discuss trade issues in a multilateral trade framework again.”

Draghi spoke after the central bank left interest rates and stimulus settings unchanged. IT says it will end its bond stimulus purchases at year end.

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2:40 p.m.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi says the eurozone is undergoing “solid and broad-based growth” but that it still needs “significant monetary policy stimulus.”

Draghi made the statement Thursday after the bank’s 25-member governing council left interest rates unchanged at record lows and said they won’t rise until well into 2019.

In the meantime, the bank confirms it will phase out its monthly bond-buying stimulus by year-end. The bank is moving slowly in withdrawing stimulus to avoid roiling financial markets and with an eye on risks from trade conflicts. Draghi said that uncertainties related to “the threat of protectionism remains prominent.”

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1:50 p.m.

Markets are looking for more detail from the European Central Bank on when interest rates might start to rise next year after a policy meeting at which the bank left rates and stimulus settings unchanged.

The bank has said it will phase out by year-end its bond-buying stimulus program for the 19 countries that use the euro, and that interest rates will then stay on hold “through the summer” of 2019. Speculation on what that means has ranged from July to September or even later, and bank President Mario Draghi may address the question at his post-decision news conference.

The ECB is withdrawing stimulus as the economy grows, but doing it so slowly that its policy is diverging sharply from that of the U.S. Federal Reserve, which is already raising rates.


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