Stock indices traded higher on further stimulus measures by the European Central Bank's (ECB). The central bank cut its interest rate to 0.00% from 0.05% (this decision was not expected by market participants) and deposit rate to -0.4% from -0.3%. The ECB also expanded its monthly purchases to €80 billion from €60 billion, to take effect in April. Purchases will include non-bank corporate debt. The central bank will launch further four targeted longer-term refinancing operations (LTRO).
The U.K. Office for National Statistics (ONS) released trade data for the U.K. on Friday. The U.K. trade deficit in goods narrowed to £10.29 billion in January from £10.45 billion in December. December's figure was revised down from a deficit of £9.92 billion.
The decline in deficit was driven by a smaller gap with non-EU countries.
The total trade deficit, including services, narrowed to £3.46 billion in January from £3.70 billion in December. December's figure was revised down from a deficit of £2.71 billion.
Construction output in the U.K. declined 0.2% in January, after a 2.1% rise in December. The decline was mainly driven by a drop in all new work, which plunged 0.8% in January.