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This was despite the European Central Bank announcing it would wind down its stimulus programme by the end of 2018, an event which many analysts had predicted would be supportive of the Euro.

The euro dropped on the outlook for interest rates, trading 1% lower shortly after the announcement.

"If the United States takes unilateral protectionist measures and harms China's interests, we will respond immediately and take necessary measures to firmly safeguard our legitimate rights", Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Friday.

The common currency shed 1.9% to the dollar after the rate comments, in its sharpest daily fall in the nearly two years since the Brexit vote shock in 2016.

In a rare merging of the sports and trading worlds, markets are gearing up for soccer's World Cup in Russian Federation, where time zone differences mean more matches during European, US and Latin American trading hours than any previous tournament. It also said it plans to hold off on raising interest rates until at least the summer of 2019, which is longer than some investors expected.

The euro was headed for its worst weekly loss in 19 months after the European Central Bank signalled on Thursday that it would keep interest rates at record lows into at least mid-2019, even as it pledged to end its massive bond purchase scheme by the end of this year.

Draghi said there would be no prospect of an increase in the ECB's key lending rate - now 0.0% - until next summer at the earliest.

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The France forward then said on Tuesday at a news conference that a decision had been reached but it "is not the time" to reveal what it was.

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The Trump administration is set to release its final list of Chinese products that will be subject to 25% tariffs by Friday, with the US President reasserting vows to pursue aggressive trade action in the coming weeks against China. And in equity markets, the Stoxx600 turned positive on the news and had moved around 0.2 percent higher by 2.20 p.m. CET.

The ECB's bond buys - now set at €30 billion ($35 billion) a month - and ultra-low interest rates are created to stoke growth in the 19-nation single currency area and power inflation to the bank's target of just below 2 percent.

There's also a political challenge in the form of Italy's new government and weakening export demand.

Speculation has been rife in recent weeks that this month's meeting could see the European Central Bank outline a timetable for exiting its post euro-crisis stimulus programme.

Just hours before the ECB's announcement, the US Federal Reserve hiked interest rates for the second time in 2018, bringing into sharp focus the fact that the flow of easy money in Europe and America over the past decade is gradually ending.

Oil markets, pressured by the strengthening dollar and fears that OPEC countries could decide to increase output at a meeting next week, ended mixed.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were up 0.1% at $66.93 a barrel, while Brent was down 0.1% at $75.87.


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