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The ECB’s Weidmann says Expectations for mid-2019 rate hike is not realistic

The Bundesbank President repeated that the ECB’s policy normalization should start soon, adding again that expectations for a rate hike around the middle of next year are “not unrealistic”. No real surprise there, although there seems a slight delay in the road map towards a rate hike, after Praet recently seemed to hint that he is comfortable with market expectations for a move “next spring”. If mega-hawk Weidmann is aiming more for the middle of next year, there doesn’t seem to be too much of a hurry, even if the general road map for the phasing out of policy measures remains intact, despite trade war jitters and market turbulences.

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ECB gives up on bigger bond buys en route to stimulus exit

The European Central Bank dropped a long-standing pledge on Thursday to increase its bond buying if needed, taking another small step in weaning the euro zone economy off its protracted stimulus. Keeping its broader policy unchanged, the ECB said it could still extend its 2.55 trillion euro ($3.16 trillion) bond purchase scheme beyond September if needed. But it skipped a reference to bigger purchases, a signal that it remains on track to end a three-year-old stimulus scheme before the end of 2018.

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ECB's Draghi Says Patience Needed on Monetary Policy

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said Monday that the euro area economy is expanding robustly, but inflation is yet to show sustained signs of moving higher so patience with regard to monetary policy is still needed. In a statement to the European Parliament, Draghi said that growth is stronger than previously expected, but inflation has yet to show more convincing signs of a sustained upward adjustment. "While the strong momentum of the euro area economy has clearly strengthened our confidence in the inflation outlook, patience and persistence with regard to monetary policy is still needed for inflation to sustainably return to levels of below, but close to, 2%,” Draghi said. He said the relationship between growth and inflation remains largely intact, even if it was temporarily weakened.

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Spanish Finance Minister Backed for Leading ECB Job

Finance ministers from the 19-country eurozone on Monday endorsed Spain's Luis de Guindos for the coveted post of European Central Bank vice president, after Ireland withdrew the only other candidate. European Union leaders are expected to anoint de Guindos at a summit on March 22-23, after seeking the opinion of EU lawmakers and the ECB, which oversees the euro currency. Once that is done, de Guindos will replace Vitor Constancio on June 1 and serve a non-renewable eight-year term.

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