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Indeed, with the euro zone economy expanding for 20 quarters in a row and millions of new jobs created, the main debate among policymakers is about how quickly to withdraw stimulus and preserve European Central Bank firepower for the next downturn.

The U.S. Dow Jones bluechip index had snapped a five-day losing streak on Wednesday, thanks to strong corporate earnings.

"The bottom line is. caution in reading these developments, caution tempered by an unchanged confidence in convergence of inflation to our inflation aim", he said.

The ECB is trying to push up inflation from the current annual rate of 1.3 percent toward its goal of just under 2 percent, considered best for the economy.

It is possible that the severe weather in recent months might have slightly limited the UK's economic growth, however, particularly with the services sector taking a brief hit.

Yields on 10-year U.S. Treasuries, the reference rate for global borrowing, have risen around 25 basis points since early-April and are now hovering at four-year highs.

This happened as 10-year US bond yields drifted back below the psychologically significant 3 percent mark and Wall Street futures pointed fractionally higher with another heavy dump of first quarter earnings coming up from companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Intel.

"But with Treasury yields rising, people are worrying we may be peaking on profits, or if GDP growth is peaking and we are now in a situation where markets are getting very nervous", he said, noting the US Federal Reserve appeared to be in no mood to brake its rate-hike programme.

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Economic growth in the euro zone has moderated but is expected to remain solid, while external threats including protectionism have become more prominent, ECB President Mario Draghi said on Thursday.

Euro zone bond yields, swept up in the Treasury market momentum, inched down from multi-week highs before the meeting, and the euro firmed off eight-week lows against the dollar.

"The main takeaway is that nothing has changed in the ECB's policy stance and they remain on course to taper later in the year", said Marchel Alexandrovich, European financial economist at Jefferies.

Draghi was expected to face particularly probing questions about reports that the German government expected the U.S. to impose tariffs on European metals imports - potentially sparking a transatlantic trade war that could undermine growth and inflation.

"The risk is that he is less dovish than expected", Green added.

The EUR/USD is bouncing after touching the lowest levels since January 12th.

With Thursday's decision, the ECB's rate on bank overnight deposits, which is now its primary interest rate tool, remains at -0.40 percent.


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