* Euro drops on dovish ECB meeting
* Fed expected to raise rates next week
(Adds market action, changes dateline, previous LONDON)
By Karen Brettell
NEW YORK, Dec 8 The euro dropped over 1 percent
on Thursday after the European Central Bank extended asset
purchases until the end of next year and President Mario Draghi
said cuts to the size of the program should not be viewed as
The ECB said it will reduce its asset buys to 60 billion
euros from next April from the current 80 billion euros, and
extend purchase by an extra nine months from March. It also
reserved the right to increase the size of purchases once again.
"The ECB is going to stay in the markets," Draghi said in a
press conference after the central bank's statement.
"They are still going to buy a lot," said Steven Englander,
global head of foreign exchange strategy at Citigroup in New
York. "The nine months is important because it pushes out the
period over which you expect rates to be negative."
The euro had strengthened ahead of Thursday's decision. It
peaked at $1.0875 in the first minute after the statement before
It last traded at $1.0617, down 1.26 percent on the day.
"Make no mistake, the ECB has eased monetary policy with
this move," said Mizuho strategist Peter Chatwell.
The Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise interest
rates for the first time this year when it meets next week,
though it is also seen as likely to take a cautious tone on the
Traders will be watching for any indications of how many
rate increases Fed officials expect in 2017, after Donald
Trump's surprise election as U.S. President on Nov. 8 increased
expectations of greater fiscal stimulus to boost economic
"Last meeting we had seven participants looking for three or
more hikes next year and I think it'll be a big deal if that
seven goes to 10 or 11," said Citi's Englander.
That said, "they are also aware that rates are backing up
and it might do damage to the housing market and the car auto
market before any of this comes about, so I think they will be
careful not to encourage it," Englander said.
The dollar index against a basket of six major
currencies gained 0.90 percent to 101.13. Against the yen
, the greenback increased 0.38 percent to 114.18.
(Additional reporting by Abhinav Ramnarayan in London; Editing
by Frances Kerry)