The euro is climbing ahead of the ECB's crucial meeting

The euro is climbing on Thursday, as European investors await the latest policy decisions from the European Central Bank.

The ECB delivers its latest verdict on monetary policy at 12.45 p.m. GMT (7.45 a.m. ET), with a press conference from President Mario Draghi 45 minutes later. The bank is expected to leave its base interest rates unchanged at 0% but could announce an extension to its quantitative easing (QE) programme.

QE is set to stop in March 2017, but the ECB is widely expected to keep buying assets beyond that horizon given that growth and inflation both remain subdued in the eurozone.

As a result of expectations, the euro is marginally higher on the day. At around 10.45 a.m. GMT (5.45 a.m. ET) the currency is up by just over 0.35% against the dollar, trading at its highest level in roughly three weeks.

Here’s how that looks:

The euro’s movements in recent weeks have been unpredictable. The single currency slumped more than 1% after former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announced his resignation following his crushing defeat in the country’s constitutional reform referendum.

That was expected, but the rapid recovery of the currency, which actually closed higher the day after the vote, was not.

Societe Generale said in November that it expects the euro to hit parity against the dollar for the first time in almost 15 years at the start of 2017 as political uncertainty in the single currency area begins to crystallise.

Parity between the euro and the dollar will be driven by two big catalysts: European politics, and a strengthening dollar following the expected rate hike by the US Federal Reserve in December.

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