Shares fall as Draghi remarks keep euro running

GBP  USD price chart

GBP USD price chart

Such comments matter because a weaker dollar can help US exporters by making their goods cheaper against foreign competition.

His task was made even more delicate overnight when top USA 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.

But a strengthening euro is taking the edge off that trend; a stronger currency tends to pull consumer prices lower as import costs are reduced.

His comments were optimistic and this helped to underpin the the single currency, lifting the Key EUR/USD exchange rate to above 1.25.

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Investors remain sensitive to any indication from Draghi that the European Central Bank could hike interest rates during 2018.

This is because a stronger exchange rate is expected to hurt exports and company earnings.

"The ECB refrained from aggressively pushing back against the strength of the euro at their monetary policy decision.but also warned the US against opening a Pandora's box of competitive devaluation", said William Adams, senior worldwide economist at the PNC Financial Services Group.

"The most interesting thing for this meeting will be exactly how they are going to try and clarify some of their comments that came out after the December minutes that were interpreted as hawkish", said Alessio de Longis, portfolio manager for OppenheimerFunds' global multi-asset group.

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Investors were eagerly awaiting Mr Draghi's comments on the euro after European Central Bank policy-makers kept interest rates and guidance unchanged, all the more since US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Wednesday talked of the benefits of a weak dollar. Currently, the bank says the purchases will continue at least through September and longer if necessary, leaving the exact end open.

By virtually all metrics, the eurozone economy is in rude health.

But while economic expansion has accelerated in the 19-nation eurozone - hitting 2. Germany's Ifo index of business sentiment matched its record high in January, and surveys show business activity is expanding rapidly. Looking at previous year, the European Central Bank managed to increase the forecasts for 2018 to 2.3% from the latter 1.8%. Its rate of minus 0.4 percent on deposits it takes from commercial banks was also unchanged.

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