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ECB Under Pressure As Meeting Begins

Laura Brodbeck

The euro was steady below $1.34 with the European Central Bank meeting set to take place later in the day on Thursday.

The common currency traded at $1.3383 at 7:00 GMT on Thursday morning, coming back from a nine-month low against the dollar as investors took profits.

The ECB is likely to be under pressure this month, as data from the bloc has proven that the region’s recovery is on shaky ground.

Bloomberg reported that Italian GDP showed that the nation has unexpectedly slipped back into a recession with the country’s economy shrinking 0.2 percent in the second quarter.

Adding to the eurozone’s doom and gloom, a separate report showed that German factory orders came in below expectations in June, falling 3.2 percent.

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The poor economic data is only the beginning of the eurozone’s woes, as tension with Russia is also threatening to tear down the bloc’s already fragile comeback.

After accusing Moscow of supplying arms and training to Ukrainian rebels, the EU has enacted tougher sanctions against Russia, specifically targeting the nation’s defense, banking and energy sectors.

Though the sanctions are designed to economically isolate Russia, many are worried that they will also deal a blow to the eurozone economy, as Russia is one of the bloc’s largest trading partners.

With so many challenges facing the eurozone, the ECB will be under heavy pressure to do more to kick-start the region’s sputtering economy.

However, the bank is not expected to do so as it released a package of easing measures at its June meeting and will likely wait for the changes to take effect before proceeding with any further stimulus measures.

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