Ukraine-Russia talks end in a stalemate EUR The pound came under pressure yesterday against the euro after a more hawkish-than-expected European Central Bank policy meeting. The ECB left interest rates on hold, however they announced that they will be winding up their asset purchase programme at a faster pace than previously expected. This is in view of rising inflation which continues to be a concern for the eurozone. Optimism, which had been building on Wednesday after hopes that Russia and Ukraine could find a diplomatic solution, dropped abruptly yesterday as talks between the countries’ Foreign Ministers ended in a stalemate with no agreement. Today, attention remains on the eastern European war as well as the release of German inflation data, the final reading for February, which is expected to confirm 5.1%. GBP The pound is not being supported by the Bank of England’s projected interest rate rise next week. Sterling will continue to be shunned for the US dollar and markets will keep being risk-off. This morning saw data release for UK GDP month on month which rose 0.8%, up on December’s -0.2%. The Office for National Statistics reported all sectors grew in January with services up 0.8%, production up 0.7% and construction up by 1.1%. This strong data will support the case that the BoE will raise rates next week and possibly again for future months.