Heads up: ECB policy decision to come at 1245 GMT

Author: Justin Low | Category: News

That will be followed by Draghi's press conference at 1330 GMT

The statement is expected to confirm that we will see the end of QE this year and in that light, the central bank should follow through with a confident message. The key highlight from the statement will be to watch out any changes to the forward guidance. The central bank continues to reaffirm that rates will be left unchanged "until through the summer of 2019" and they are expected to keep with that for the time being.

There wouldn't be much else for currency traders to gather from the statement so the next focal point will be Draghi's press conference. Draghi will be highlighting the central bank's latest growth and inflation forecasts - which are expected to be downgraded - so that could is a negative impression for the euro, although I would argue that this is already very much priced in currently; still look out for algos/knee-jerk reactions.

But despite that dovish take, the key thing to watch out for will be on how Draghi assesses the risks to growth as well as the inflation outlook. Currently, the message is that risks are still "broadly balanced" but it'll be a real blow to the euro if he starts to talk about risks being "tilted to the downside".

However, if he maintains the same old message and remains confident that inflation will converge towards the central bank's target of just under 2%, that will be something for euro bulls to chew on - particularly after Italy has seemingly resolved its budget situation with the European Commission.

The yields spread between 10-year Italian and German bonds have tightened to just 263 bps as of today, and that's the narrowest since September:

With Italian debt risk being pushed to the sidelines for now, this could be the right platform for the euro to get a lift higher if Draghi decides to remain upbeat on normalising monetary policy next year.

More previews on the decision later:

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