European Central Bank looks to review stimulus duration

Pound to euro exchange rate

GETTY CASH The euro is surging on concerns the ECB is changing it policy message

The move has also brought the Bank of Japan into play in terms of speculating on what, if any there next policy move is likely to be, and while the Nikkei 225 made a new 26 year high this week, a stronger yen is unlikely to be welcomed by Japanese exporters.

The news gave fresh legs to the current rally being driven by expectations that the European Central Bank may quicken the pace of trimming its massive monetary stimulus.

The dollar index fell 0.46 per cent, with the euro up 0.74 per cent to $1.2033.

Australia's job market has seen strong performance in recent months so if the job market beats expectations again it could help the Australian Dollar to hold its ground against a sturdy Euro.

The central bank should revisit its communication stance in early 2018 and gradually adjust its language to reflect improved growth prospects, the ECB's December policy meeting minutes showed on Thursday. As a result, the Australian Dollar to Euro (AUD/EUR) exchange rate dropped back to near the week's opening levels of 0.6544.

AUD/USD is supported around 0.7832 levels and now trading at 0.7889 levels.

By 1325 BST, the EUROSTOXX 600 was down 0.49%, while the EUROSTOXX 50 was 0.41% lower.

Optimism about fourth-quarter earnings boosted stocks.

The latest NIESR GDP estimate for December is also expected to paint a positive picture of 0.5% growth for Q4, as economic data continues to surprise to the upside.

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Treasury yields fell on Thursday after China disputed a report that its government officials had recommended the country slow or halt its purchases of USA bonds.

Despite the PPI report, the dollar fell 0.4% on the DXY index on Thursday.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.23 percent, and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.66 percent. The 10-year yield eased back to 2.56% after a healthy auction of Treasurys on Wednesday.

In commodities, oil prices rose for a sixth day after Russia's oil minister said that global crude supplies were "not balanced yet", alleviating market concerns about a wind-down of the OPEC-led deal to reduce production.

The U.S. central bank's preferred inflation measure, the personal consumption expenditures price index excluding food and energy, has undershot its target since May 2012.

In the other precious metals, the spot silver price rose $0.12 to $17.095-17.115 per oz.

Brent crude futures settled 6 cents higher at $69.26 a barrel, after hitting $70.05 a barrel during the session, its highest level since November 2014.

Both Brent and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil price futures were hovering just off three-year highs at just under $70 and $64 a barrel, while gold ticked over at $1,320 an ounce after spiking to almost four-month highs.

The program was launched three years ago and since then, the ECB's portfolio of assets has ballooned to the realm of trillions of Euros. Receipts are expected to add 0.5 percent from the prior month, marking a slight slowdown from the prior month but registering near the trend average.

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