$1 Trillion of Bonds Exit Negative-Yielding Zone in 8 Days

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The minutes showed a "very positive" growth outlook from the ECB's top economists, with a "prolonged period" of above-potential growth expected.

The euro was on track for a more than 1.5% rise since Thursday - its strongest two-day performance since August.

The asset purchase programme, known as quantitative easing, has racked up €2.29 trillion in bonds on the ECB's balance sheet since starting in 2015, with the plan now only set to continue until the end of September.

The German DAX declined 0.6% and France's CAC 40 index slid 0.3% while the UK's FTSE 100 edged up 0.2%. Also on deck Friday will be USA inflation data, which would drive the euro-dollar pair further.

With the euro zone seeing its best growth in a decade, the European Central Bank should gradually shift its stance to avoid a more disruptive move later and look at a broader revision of its policy guidance to reduce the focus on bond purchases and raise the emphasis on interest rates, accounts of the ECB's December meeting showed.

The euro surged above $1.21 to a three-year high today on bets the European Central Bank is getting ready to wind down its huge monetary stimulus.

Vivendi SA shares (VIV.FR) fell 1.1%, with the French media group saying it foresees 2017 growth of 20% to 25% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/vivendi-confirms-it-expects-20-25-earnings-growth-2018-01-12) in earnings before interest, taxes and amortization.

EUR/USD is jumping with a high of 1.1993 so far.

The dollar index was down by 0.05% to 91.81 as of 11.57am Shanghai time. Benchmark U.S. crude slipped 37 cents to $63.55 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

When the euro was created some 15 years ago, there was speculation that the new currency might come to challenge the dominance of the US dollar as the worldwide reserve currency of choice. Japan's Nikkei dipped 0.1%.

Treasury yields fell on Thursday after China disputed a report that its government officials had recommended the country slow or halt its purchases of US bonds.

The central bank left monetary policy unchanged at the mid-December meeting, but previously announced it would slow down its monthly purchases of bonds from €60bn to €30bn - an acknowledgement that less stimulus was needed.

USA gold futures for February delivery settled up $3.20, or 0.2 percent, at $1,322.50 per ounce. The all-important 10-year yield hit its highest level since March on Tuesday.

The burst of business in options and the prospect of heightened volatility is likely to be welcome news for currency investors, whose returns suffered previous year as volatility tumbled amid well-telegraphed central-bank policy.