The euro extended gains against the U.S. dollar Friday after data from the region's statistics office showed a firm increase in core inflation this month, a reading that could increase speculation of a policy change from the European Central Bank.
Core inflation, which strips out volatile price increases in food, energy alcohol and tobacco products, accelerated to 1.3% in April, according to a preliminary estimate from Eurostat, much faster than the 0.9% reading from March and the fastest past since 2013. Headline inflation, Eurostat said, sped to 1.9% in April from 1.5% in March and now sits within the ECB's "just below 2%" target for medium-term price stability.
The euro was marked 0.63% higher against the dollar following the release and changing hands at 1.0960 at 10:07 BST.
The gains reversed yesterday's declines, which saw the single currency fall after ECB President Mario Draghi said there was no need to discuss an exit from the Bank's expansionary monetary policies after the Bank made no changes to its near-zero interest rates -- including a -0.4% charge to commercial banks parking money overnight in its deposit facility -- and said that the pace of monthly asset purchases in its quantitative easing program would remain in place until at least December.
"The Governing Council confirms that the net asset purchases, at the new monthly pace of €60 billion, are intended to run until the end of December 2017, or beyond, if necessary, and in any case until the Governing Council sees a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation consistent with its inflation aim," the Bank said.
"If the outlook becomes less favourable, or if financial conditions become inconsistent with further progress towards a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation, the Governing Council stands ready to increase the programme in terms of size and/or duration," the statement added.
"A very substantial degree of monetary accommodation is still needed for underlying inflation pressures to build up and support headline inflation in the medium term," Draghi said in his opening statement. "If the outlook becomes less favourable, or if financial conditions become inconsistent with further progress towards a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation, we stand ready to increase our asset purchase programme in terms of size and/or duration."