The European Central Bank on Thursday indicated it would conduct asset purchases under its pandemic emergency purchase program, or PEPP, at a "moderately lower pace" after accelerating purchases in recent quarters. "Based on a joint assessment of financing conditions and the inflation outlook, the Governing Council judges that favorable financing conditions can be maintained with a moderately lower pace of net asset purchases under the PEPP than in the previous two quarters," the ECB said in a statement following a meeting of its Governing Council. The ECB said PEPP purchases would continue with an envelope of 1.85 trillion euros through at least the end of March 2022. The ECB left key interest rates unchanged, as expected. ECB President Christine Lagarde will hold a news conference at 2:30 p.m. Frankfurt time, or 8:30 a.m. Eastern.