Euro up on signs ECB to shift stance

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The euro jumped against the dollar yesterday as the European Central Bank signalled it could begin to wind down its €2.5-trillion stimulus programme this year, while oil prices hit their highest since 2014 on tightening crude stocks, lifting energy shares.

US Treasury yields fell after China disputed a report that its government officials had recommended the country slow or halt its purchases of the US bonds.

The Bloomberg News report had lifted yields on the 10-year government bond to a 10-month high on Wednesday.

The European Central Bank should revisit its communication stance in early 2018, accounts of its December meeting showed, suggesting that policymakers could soon start preparing markets for the end of the bank's massive stimulus.

"The expectation that the ECB is moving toward removal of stimulus is helping lift interest rate yields further. This has been long expected, but there was more formality in the minutes around how the bank will manage the forward guidance process as they exit unconventional policy," said Karl Schamotta, director of global product and market strategy at Cambridge Global Payments in Toronto.

The dollar index fell 0.46pc, with the euro up 0.74 percent to $1.2033.

US stocks were higher in early trading after the S&P 500 suffered its first down day of the year on Wednesday. The S&P energy index was up 2pc.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index lost 0.23pc and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.19pc.

In the US bond market, benchmark 10-year notes last fell 3/32 in price to yield 2.5605pc, from 2.549pc late on Wednesday.

Bitcoin was 4.8pc lower at $14,168.95 on Luxembourg's Bitstamp exchange.