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European Central Bank keeps door open for more stimulus

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One measure that could emerge then includes extending the 80 billion euros ($88 billion) in monthly bond purchases beyond March 2017, now the earliest possible end date.

He said that the European Central Bank was waiting until December to address the issue because "we want to see all the inputs that are useful to have this discussions" which will "ensure the smooth implementation of our purchase programme until March 2017 or beyond if necessary".

Wall Street, of course, is fixated on the US central bank, and whether or not the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates for the first time this year at either its November or December meeting.

The European Central Bank chose to keep interest rates unchanged today, with their Deposit Facility Rate remaining at -0.40% and the Main Refinancing rate at 0.00%, as expected. Benchmark 10-year German bund yields also rose 2 basis points to 1.06% immediately after Draghi's comments before falling back into negative territory for the first time in two weeks.

"Draghi's remarks do support our view that in December QE will be extended beyond March 2017", said Unicredit economist Marco Valli.

Draghi "very much achieved" his goal to "calm tapering discussions down", said Daniel Lenz, a market strategist at DZ Bank AG in Frankfurt.

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Many in the markets think that an expansion of the stimulus program may come at December's meeting, when the European Central Bank will be armed with fresh quarterly economic forecasts.

Looking ahead, Draghi said inflation rates are likely to rise in 2017 and 2018 in large part as a result of the recent increase in oil prices.

The bank chief dismissed an early October Bloomberg report that the ECB was considering winding down - or tapering - its bond-buying programme, known as quantitative easing (QE).

The euro fell as low as $1.0917 versus the U.S. dollar, its lowest since June 24, helping the dollar index rise to its highest since March 10. Meanwhile, spot silver prices traded below $17.50/oz as the argent metal sank more than 1% lower right along with platinum and palladium. Eurozone inflation reached 0.4% last month. Figures due to be released at the end of this month are expected to show that the eurozone economy grew at a tepid rate in the third-quarter. "What assets are they going to buy?"

The dollar index, which gauges the greenback against six major rivals, was up 0.1 per cent at 98.369, up 0.4 per cent for the week and not far from its overnight high of 98.404, its loftiest peak since March 10.

Lending growth is also showing signs of leveling off, suggesting that banks may be struggling to pass on some of the ECB's ultra-loose policy measures.

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