European Stocks Rise as ECB Holds Rates

European Government Bonds: Too Early For The ECB To Announce A Change In Guidance

The market was also waiting in anticipation for Draghi to make his press conference later in the day and a part of the market was expecting him to talk down the euro as it felt that the European Central Bank would be uncomfortable with the quick and unfettered rise of the euro against the other currencies, especially the dollar.

His task was made even more delicate overnight when top US officials made their case for a weak dollar, sending the greenback to a three year low against the euro and raising fears of renewed trade wars.

With the bloc's economy growing faster than expected, investors have been speculating that the ECB could abruptly stop its asset purchases in September, as advocated by Estonia's central bank governor Ardo Hansson.

The dollar was sent lower by comments from U.S. treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin at Davos, who suggested that a weaker dollar is "good for us as it relates to trade and opportunities".

He is now set to address reporters in a 1330 GMT news conference where the euro's rise and expected changes in the bank's policy guidance will likely take centre stage.

The yield on Germany's 10-year government bond, the benchmark for the region, was lower 1.6 bps at 0.515 percent, moving further off the recent five-month high of 0.54 percent hit in early January. Currently, the bank says the purchases will continue at least through September and longer if necessary, leaving the exact end open.

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Earlier in the session, sterling strengthened to its highest levels on a trade-weighted basis since shortly after Britain's European Union referendum in June 2016, as optimism around Brexit and the economy continued to fuel a surge in the currency.

Inflation is also years away from rising back to the ECB's target of 2 percent, so Draghi can hardly afford any big currency swings.

"The apparent lack of concern over the euro's recent ascent by European Central Bank chief Draghi provided the green light for a break of $1.25", said NFS Macro analyst Nick Stamenkovic. The GBP/EUR exchange rate dropped a cent and the EUR/USD rate moved to a 3 and a half year high.

Indeed, growth projections, revised up repeatedly, already look too pessimistic as manufacturing, trade and jobs data all point to superb run for the euro zone economy, economists argue.

But while economic expansion has accelerated in the 19-nation eurozone - hitting 2.

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