European Central Bank sticks to plan to end stimulus

European Central Bank sticks to plan to end stimulus
A man rides a bike in the early morning at the Porta Nuova business center in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The European Central Bank says it is staying on course to wrap up its 2.5 trillion euro (.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.