European Central Bank to end quantitative easing in December 2018

European Central Bank to end quantitative easing in December 2018

As expected, the European Central Bank left its key policy rate unchanged on Thursday morning and announced a plan to end its asset purchase program.

Though full policy normalisation will take years, investors have already braced themselves for the end of easy money from the world's central banks.

The central bank will briefly taper its monthly asset purchases beginning in October, to €15 billion ($17.5 billion) from €30 billion now, for the last three months of the year before ending it in December.

Sitting at around 1.1818 versus the dollar before the announcement, the euro fell to 1.1681 during Draghi's subsequent press conference, shipping around 0.9 percent in value for the session. The dollar index, which tracks it again six top currencies, also erased all of this week's gains. And in equity markets, the Stoxx600 turned positive on the news and had moved around 0.2 percent higher by 2.20 p.m. CET.

Rio Tinto, Glencore, Antofagasta and BHP Billiton were among the biggest fallers, down 1.3 to 1.4 percent.

Benefiting from the ECB's decision were stock markets on both sides of the Atlantic.

The biggest boost to the index was pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline which gained 1.1 percent after its two-drug treatment for HIV met its main goal in late stage studies, after regulators warned of possible birth defects from one of the two drugs.

Apple steps up encrytion to thwart police cracking of iPhones
The loophole will be shut down in a forthcoming update to Apple's iOS software, which powers iPhones. They used a $15,000 device that was bought in March from a company named Grayshift .

EUR/USD snaps the range from earlier this week even as the European Central Bank (ECB) unveils a more detailed exit strategy, and euro-dollar stands at risk for further losses as the Governing Council remains in no rush to normalize monetary policy.

The synchronized global growth theory is looking more biased in favour of the USA, and the retails sales beat today was a surprise that further fueled the greenback to fresh highs vs the euro. Japan's Nikkei 225 finished 0.5 percent higher at 22,851.75 but South Korea's Kospi retreated 0.8 percent to 2,404.04. Basic resources stocks led the decline with a 1.3 drop following weak data from big metals consumer China.

In US Treasuries, benchmark 10-year notes last rose 9/32 in price to yield 2.9461 percent, from 2.979 percent late on Wednesday.

After nine years of steady if uneven recovery, the United States is now growing at a pace topping 4 percent, unemployment is as low as it has been this century, and inflation has safely edged up toward an official target.

US President Donald Trump has made up his mind to impose "pretty significant" tariffs and will unveil a list targeting Dollars 50 billion of Chinese goods on Friday, an administration official said. Traders are anxious about China, Mexico and other countries curbing demand for USA grain and soy exports.

Italy's Finance Minister Giovanni Tria made assurances at the weekend that the country would stay committed to the euro, while the euroskeptic minister for European Affairs Paolo Savona - whose planned appointment to Tria's position roiled markets - said the common currency was indispensable.

Volume on USA exchanges was 6.75 billion shares, compared with the 6.70 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

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