The European Central Bank suspended its purchases of government bonds last week for the first time since October, reflecting market growing confidence and easing debt concerns, allowing the bank to shift its monetary stance a little bit to counter inflation threats that surpassed the ECB's desired rate over the past two months.

The ECB will hold a rate decision on February 3, with expectations that the bank will preserve its key lending rate at 1.0 percent, the lowest since the formation of the bank in the early 1990's.