European Central Bank sticks to plan to end stimulus

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The European Central Bank says it is staying on course to wrap up its 2.5 trillion euro ($2.85 trillion) stimulus program at the end of the year, even as risks loom ever larger for to the 19-country eurozone’s economy.

The bank left interest rates and its path to stimulus exit unchanged at its meeting Thursday at its skyscraper headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany.

It reiterated in a policy statement that its bond-buying stimulus program — scaled back this month to 15 billion euros a month — will end in December.

At his subsequent news conference, bank head Mario Draghi is expected to assess risks from Britain possibly leaving the European Union without a negotiated exit deal, increasing trade protectionism, and Italy’s dispute with EU authorities over its spending plans.

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