ibusinesslines.com March 24, 2017

United States dollar slips, euro rises after ECB's Draghi speaks

21 March 2017, 02:08 | Myron Mathis

AFP Getty Images

AFP  Getty Images

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble went further yesterday, saying he was in favour of a "timely start to the exit" from the ECB's loose monetary policy, echoing calls from the German banking association and the Ifo economic institute.

"This is a gradual process", Mr Draghi said.

The upshot is that the European Central Bank kept rates and stimulus settings on hold, and stuck to its "forward guidance" that interest rates will stay low, or lower, beyond the end of the current asset-purchase programme in December.

"The reason is simple because it is hard to write off the positive impact of growing inflation and growth [.] It is in Draghi's interest to keep buying more time until we have navigated through all these [political] storms and sailing becomes smoother".

Mario Draghi will give further details on the ECB's decision at a news conference later. But "the expectation, the probability of an expectation that it will actually materialise into lower level, has gone down", Draghi said.

Meanwhile, inflation should reach 1.7 per cent in 2017 and 1.6 per cent in 2018 - up from previous predictions of 1.3 per cent and 1.5 per cent.

The single currency ended the day 0.3 per cent higher and was up another 0.3 per cent as of 10.59am Frankfurt time today, trading at US$1.0613 (RM4.73).

Facing low inflation and weak growth, the European Central Bank has kept interest rates in negative territory and bonds purchases at 80 billion euros a month, promising substantial accommodation and an extended market presence to aid the euro zone's recovery.

Europe's benchmark government bond yield hit a one-month high and the euro firmed against the dollar after the European Central Bank removed from its latest policy statement a reference to using all available instruments to prop up growth and inflation.

The figures strengthen the case for the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates this month - the odds now stand at 80% - and only an incredibly disappointing non-farm payrolls report tomorrow could stop the United States central bank in its tracks. "Now these risks - some of them - have materialised, but we haven't seen yet a significant economic impact".

The ECB will issue its latest policy update at 7:45 a.m. If they cut the easing bias and then cut the pace of purchases without there being a sustained rise in wage costs, then we could legitimately ask: "what are you guys doing?" In any event ... we are ready.

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