Friday September 8, 2017 - 16:33:03 GMT
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Key European Central Bank Meeting Provides Some Clarity
John M. Bland, MBA
ECB: Growth, Inflation, Exchange Rate ECB President Draghi provided some interesting insights into its deliberations at the meeting which ended on Thursday September 7. After that meeting, as expected, no changes were announced in any of their key interest rates were announced. Draghi said that the meeting focused on growth, inflation and exchange rate.
GROWTH Draghi indicated that the growth in the Euro-Area economy has been “robust”. Apparently, the ECB feels the economy does not need additional stimulus but said that the current policy settings are appropriate.
INFLATION I detected some frustration from Draghi on price levels. The primary policy goal of the central bank is to maintain inflation at just below 2% in the medium term. This is a two-way target. The just below 2% target is not a ceiling only, it is also the floor. The CPI target instrument is Euro-Area “HICP” which has been falling short of target. In August 2017, it was only 1.20% yr/yr. The ECB cannot progress to policy “normalization” until deflationary pressures ease. Draghi indicated that “patience” will be required on inflation.
EXCHANGE RATE The final topic discussed was the exchange rate of the Euro. Draghi reiterated that the exchange rate is not a policy target. However he emphasized that it is taken into account when policy is being considered. He acknowledged that some policy board members had expressed concerns about the current EUR exchange rate. There was broad consensus that the recent volatility in exchange rate is a source of uncertainty. The fact that the exchange rate was mentioned in the ECB policy statement suggests that this was a major concern for the committee. It came out in the press conference that the latest economic forecasts by the ECB staff had been based on a EURUSD 1.1800 exchange rate. The very mention of specific EURUSD price by the ECB President was taken as significant by many forex market participants. There is no doubt that a rising exchange rate is a drag on growth.
Future of QE: ECB Asset Purchase Program (APP) In addition the exchange rate , the second major topic of interest for the markets was the future of the ECB APP. Currently, it is purchasing EUR 60bln in government securities every month. This is down EUR20bln from its level at the outset. A new level of purchases will have to be announced before the current level of purchases runs out at the end of the year. This is something they like to make known in advance so markets can be prepared before they start. Draghi allowed that the Board did discuss length and size of Quantitative Ease (APP) along with its pros and cons. He also indicated that he has tasked committees to prepare options on how to proceed. It was also made known that there had a brief discussion of the QE announcement date and that probably the bulk of QE decisions will be taken in October. Draghi emphasized that interest rates will remain at present levels well past the end of QE.
Amazing Trader EVENT RISK Calendar:
Tue 12 Sep
08:30 GB- CPI
Wed 13 Sep
08:30 GB- Employment
12:30 US- PPI
14:30 US- Crude
Thu 14 Sep
01:30 AU- Employment
11:00 GB- Bank of England
12:30 US- Weekly Jobless
12:30 US- CPI
Fri 15 Sep
12:30 US- Retail Sales
13:15 US- Industrial Production
12:30 US- CPI
14:00 US- University of Michigan (prelim)
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