European Central Bank keeps interest rates on hold as growth picks up

Volatility could continue to play out in today's session, as ECB President Mario Draghi will deliver a press conference at 08:30 ET. The ECB is widely expected to keep its policy unchanged on Thursday, including its 2.3 trillion euro bond buying programme and pledge to keep rates low.

European Central Bank president Mario Draghi also hinted that there was no need to cut rates further. Draghi did say that the euro zone growth risks were now "broadly balanced" as opposed what he had said previously, namely that the risks were to the downside. The year-over-year growth rate increased to 1.9% from the 1.8% recorded in the previous quarter and also above the previous estimate of 1.7%.

In previous statements, the European Central Bank said it expected policy rates to remain "at present or lower levels" for an extended period. Net purchases will be made alongside reinvestments of the principal payments from maturing securities purchased under the asset purchase programme.

On Thursday, the bank lowered its forecasts for eurozone inflation this year to 1.5 percent from 1.7 percent, and for next year to 1.3 percent from 1.6 percent.

"Now we have a new situation that the economy is relatively good, while inflation remains very low", Tödtmann told DW.

Euro-area unemployment is dropping faster than projected, with the rate now falling at nearly one percentage point a year and more people joining the workforce.

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Quizzed on the speculation that European Central Bank may fail to bring inflation to its "below, but close to 2 percent" target, Draghi said there was no ground for such a scenario now as the inflation picture has not changed much. The Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) inflation was 1.4% during May, down from 1.9% in April.

The deposit rate was kept unchanged at minus 0.4 per cent and the main refinancing rate at zero, and officials still intend to buy €60 billion (S$93 billion) of debt monthly until at least the end of the year.

Analysts expect that provision to be dropped as early as next month as the central bank edges toward announcing how it will phase out the bond purchases next year. Deflation concerns are out of proportion as monetary easing mostly affected financial markets; a rollback will affect financial assets, not real inflation.

However, it did close the door to further rate cuts.

The more important driver for the market, di Galoma said, was the expected rate hike by the Federal Reserve next week as well as US long-dated Treasury debt auctions. The pace of growth was also faster than the expected 0.5%.

"One can assume that some reforms were held back because the state's finances no longer look so bad". According to Commerzbank's Schubert, the governments of heavily indebted countries like Spain and Greece have been able to make enormous savings.

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