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Cluse: Draghi, ECB to Keep Policy Accommodative

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It's decision day at the ECB, there are claims of price rigging in the silver market, and Russia sells a chunk of its largest oil producer. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.

ECB day

The European Central Bank will announce its latest monetary policy decision at 7:45 a.m. ET, with President Mario Draghi holding a press conference at 8:30 a.m. in which he's expected to outline the plans for the bank's asset-purchase program, currently due to end in March 2017 at the earliest. The ECB will also publish updated growth and inflation forecasts, including a first look at 2019. Not a single economist in the Bloomberg survey forecasts a rate change today, but expectations for an extension to the QE program has helped lift stocks and bonds in recent sessions.  

Silver rigging

Plaintiffs say documents relating to a lawsuit that claim Deutsche Bank AG manipulated gold and silver prices, which it settled, provide “smoking gun” proof that UBS Group AG, HSBC Holdings Plc, Bank of Nova Scotia and others rigged the silver market. The documents show communication between traders in different banks discussing ways to affect the market. Separately, an audit commissioned by German regulators suggest that Deutsche Bank employees may have manipulated internal indexes as part of a scheme to help Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA conceal losses. Shares in Deutsche Bank were 1.4 percent higher at €17.59 at 5:26 a.m ET, approaching a 16 percent gain this week. 

Russian oil sale

Commodity trader Glencore Plc and Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund have agreed to buy a 19.5 percent stake in Rosneft PJSC, Russia's largest oil producer, for 10.2-billion euro ($11 billion). For Glencore, the deal will increase the amount of oil it has to trade by 220,000 barrels a day. In Russia, the cash from the sale will go into a holding company nominally owned by the government, rather than directly to the finance ministry. Shares in Glencore were 1 percent higher at 5:19 a.m. ET, bringing the company's 2016 rally to 240 percent. 

Markets rise 

Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.8 percent and Japan's Topix index climbed 1.1 percent as markets took their lead from U.S. benchmarks which climbed to new record closing highs. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.2 percent higher at 5:24 a.m. ET as investors await the ECB decision. S&P 500 futures were broadly unchanged

China exports

The cheaper yuan helped spur a surprise 0.1 percent gain in China's exports, ending a seven-month losing streak. While exports are expected to continue to rise in 2017, there is a risk from U.S. trade policy, which is "the big unknown" according to Tom Orlik, chief Asia economist at Bloomberg Intelligence in Beijing. Elsewhere in Asia, Japan unexpectedly cut its reading of third-quarter economic growth to an annualized 1.3 percent, from a preliminary estimate of 2.2 percent expansion, blaming a drop in business spending and private inventories. 

What we've been reading 

This is what's caught our eye over the last 24 hours.

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