March 17, 2018

Uncertainty about European Central Bank meeting steadies gold but stronger dollar applies pressure

10 March 2018, 12:42 | Kenneth Drake

Euro jumps as ECB hints at the end of quantitative easing

The EUR  USD 1 Minute Versus 1 Month ECB Response

European Central Bank head Mario Draghi expressed concern about U.S. President Donald Trump's announced trade measures, saying the immediate spillover "is not going to be big" but that "unilateral decisions are unsafe". The ECB said it would continue its program of asset purchases through September, "or beyond, if necessary".

Shortly after the announcement of the bank's decision, the Euro appreciated by 0.06% to 1.2419 United States dollars.

President Trump remains intent on using steel tariffs to protect American producers despite opposition to the move from Congress and the media.

ECB President Mario Draghi had not been expected to rock the boat further with any talk of higher interest rates or more cuts to the lender's bond-buying program.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Currency Index fell 0.4 percent, the largest fall in a week.

The shift in tone suggests that officials who want to set a more definite course toward the exit after four years of extraordinary stimulus are getting the upper hand in the 25-member Governing Council.

The dollar was down by 0.1 percent to 1.2893 against its Canadian counterpart.

The EUR/USD has been reacting strongly on the upside rising some 70 pips to 1.2445 to the hawkish tweak.

The Euro is pushing higher against the Pound this afternoon following the ECB's latest policy meeting. The nuts and bolts of it are likely to be key with USA stock markets falling sharply on the open, and only recovering into the close last night on reports that Canada and Mexico could well get exemptions.

"Investors need to see exactly what steps Trump will take and what retaliatory actions other countries will take in coming days".

This week has seen sharp swings in stocks from positive to negative as predictions the measures will not be as bad as feared were offset by news Wednesday the president's pro-trade top economics advisor Gary Cohn had resigned.

European Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said Europe was preparing immediate counter-measures just in case of a major trade skirmish.

There was plenty to navigate in emerging markets, too. The President did try to talk down the Euro's position at the interest rate decision by stating the European Central Bank could still increase monthly purchases if needed, however investors have seen past it.

The Mexican peso last stood at 18.6900 per dollar, bouncing back from Wednesday's low of 18.90 while the Canadian dollar changed hands at $C1.2888 to the USA unit, off its eight-month low of $C1.3002 hit earlier this week.

The Japanese yen traded flat at 106.13 yen after earlier gaining to below 106 as the dollar sold off.

Japan's financial regulator punished seven crypto-currency exchanges, suspending business at two of them, to bolster consumer protection after the $530 million theft of digital money from Tokyo-based Coincheck. Looking ahead, on the basis of current futures prices for oil, annual rates of headline inflation are likely to hover around 1.5 percent for the remainder of the year.

The dollar was underpinned by Wednesday's data on US private hiring and labour costs that reinforced the view of underlying strength in the economy.

Key industrial metals were weak.

He also reminded Trump that previous trade wars had typically led to a strengthening of the dollar.

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