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The European Central Bank just got a reminder that it'll have to wait a while longer for price pressures to pick up, despite economic growth and declining unemployment. Euro-area inflation slowed to 1.4 percent last month from November's 1.5 percent, and the underlying rate unexpectedly failed to accelerate, instead holding at 0.9 percent. The pace of QE was halved this year to 30 billion euros ($36 billion) a month, though President Mario Draghi reiterated after the Dec. 14 policy meeting that buying will run to September and could be extended again. Holdings will climb to at least 2.55 trillion euros, and the deposit rate of minus 0.4 percent won't be raised until well after purchases stop.Those views are supported by surveys showing private-sector economic activity in the euro area at its strongest in almost seven years in December.
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