By Veronika Gulyas

TODAY'S CALENDAR

Local/GMT

1130/1030 Hungary government bond

auction

1400/1300 Poland Dec industrial

output, PPI, retail

GLOBAL NEWS

The markets on Thursday will focus on the European Central Bank's first policy meeting of 2017.

The central bank is expected to keep interest rates unchanged, just six weeks after it announced a major extension of its quantitative-easing program. But all eyes will still be on the press conference of ECB chief Mario Draghi, who will likely be asked about the bank's next moves, including when it might start to wind down, or taper, its QE program.

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen on Wednesday defended the central bank as a nonpartisan institution, saying it would react to economic developments regardless of short-term political pressures.

Ms. Yellen said the Fed would monitor the Trump administration's fiscal policies and take action if they cause the economy to grow too fast, potentially putting upward pressure on inflation.

"We are at a point where many economic policy changes are under consideration and of course we will closely follow what happens with economic policy," she said. "We will factor those into the outlook and take account of their impact on what we need to do" to achieve full employment and low, steady inflation, as mandated by Congress.

Ms. Yellen said that as of last month, she and most Fed officials expected to raise short-term interest rates "a few times a year" through 2019. She offered no new hints about the likely timing of thenext rate increase.

IN FOCUS

Hungary plans to sell three-year, five-year and ten-year government bonds at an auction Thursday. The country's debt management center will offer 20 billion forints ($69.2 million) of September 2020-dated bonds, HUF15 million of October 2022 bonds and HUF10 billion of October 2027 bonds.

Poland's statistics office is set to release a string of data for December. Economists expect industrial output to have stagnated in December both in annual and monthly terms because of a strong performance a year earlier as well as fewer workdays in December 2016.

Retail sales are expected to have expanded steadily this past Christmas season, supported by the government's new childcare benefit.

FOREX

EUR/CZK

0350 GMT 27.005-35

Previous 27.006-36

%Chg -0.01

EUR/HUF

0350 GMT 307.49-89

Previous 307.54-94

%Chg -0.02

EUR/PLN

0350 GMT 4.3614-32

Previous 4.3641-59

%Chg -0.06

FIXED INCOME

HungaryWed Tue

3-yrs 0.89% 0.91%

5-yrs 1.94% 1.91%

10-yrs 3.45% 3.40%

Poland

Wed Tue

3-yrs 1.97% 1.97%

5-yrs 2.86% 2.86%

10-yrs 3.62% 3.61%

Czech Republic

Wed Tue

3-yrs -0.83% -0.79%

5-yrs -0.40% -0.41%

10-yrs 0.32% 0.31%

STOCKS (Closing)

WIG 20

2005.65 -0.5%

BUX

32841.25 +0.2%

PX

925.93 +0.3%

OTHER NEWS

Ukrainian President Confident U.S. Ties Will Continue

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Wednesday he hopes to meet U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in Washington next month and that he believes the incoming administration will continue to support Ukraine.

Write to Veronika Gulyas at veronika.gulyas@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 18, 2017 23:14 ET (04:14 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2017 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.