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The Latest: Euro advances after Draghi sounds positive tone

FRANKFURT – The Latest on the European Central Bank’s policy meeting and news conference (all times local):

3:00 p.m.

The euro has shot up to a nine-day high against the dollar after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi sounded a relatively optimistic tone over the state of the economic recovery in the 19-country eurozone.

Following the bank’s decision Thursday to keep its monetary policy unchanged, Draghi said the ECB expects the economic recovery to proceed and to be supported by the recent stimulus measures. Financing conditions are improving, he said.

He also said the inflation rate in the eurozone will likely fall below zero in the coming months in light of current energy prices. However, he said inflation should start picking up in the second half of the year and continue rising in 2017 and 2018.

The ECB aims to have inflation just below 2 per cent. In the year to March, inflation was flat.

Following his comments, the euro was up 0.7 per cent at $1.1377.

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2:45 p.m.

European Central Bank head Mario Draghi says the eurozone’s top monetary authority can deploy more stimulus if global troubles threaten to push a modest economic recovery off the rails.

Draghi said that if warranted to achieve the ECB’s objective, it “will act by using all the instruments available within its mandate.”

He made the remark after the bank decided to leave interest key interest rates at zero or below. The bank also did not increase its 80 billion euros per month in bond purchases with newly printed money, a step aimed at increasing inflation from zero. That is far below the bank’s goal of just under 2 per cent.