Tag Archives: European Central Bank :

I Got the Power

The European Central Bank has got the power. It has got the power to supervise. EU finance ministers, in the early hours of this morning, agreed to appoint the ECB as Europe’s single, all-encompassing, banking supervisor. The new supervisory body is scheduled to become fully operational by early 2014 and will be responsible for the oversight of approximately two hundred of the biggest banks in Europe, as well as smaller institutions where necessary.

The rhetoric coming out of Europe following this agreement has been pretty positive, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel commented: “The importance of the deal cannot be assessed too highly”. Considering the relatively turbulent year the Euro zone has experienced, and the criticism European leaders have received over their perceived lack of action and inability to compromise, today’s agreement is quite a scalp for EU leaders and it is hoped this could be a pivotal turning point in dealing with the region’s economic woes.

However, we have seen seemingly positive decisions reached before, only for deals to fall through due to an inability of EU leaders to deliver. Cleary now, cementing the legal framework for this body and ensuring its implementation, after what could be described as a slightly rushed agreement, is vital. Following this agreement, the path has now been paved for Eurozone finance ministers to be provided with the option of using the European Stability Mechanism (Eurozone bailout fund) to recapitalise banks directly, rather than through individual countries lending institutions as is currently the case, provided a unanimous request is made to the ECB to assume direct oversight of the institution.

Across the pond yesterday, as we expected, the Fed decided to keep US interest rates at 0.25%, however what was not expected was the Feds decision to confirm that any future rate movement would now be linked to economic indicators. Current interest rates are now set to remain as they are until unemployment falls to 6.5%, provided that inflation is not projected to rise above 2.5%.

Markets are relatively flat this morning, with only a small amount of movement in the Euro following the key deal reached regarding the ECB’s new supervisory role. GBP/EUR continues to trade sideways as it has been doing for last 3 months or so now. Sterling is currently at 1.2341 against the Euro, with hour charts suggesting that we could see a potential rise back to a key level of resistance at 1.2375 today. However, as markets continue to digest the news regarding the ECB, should sentiment towards Europe turn positive and the Euro strengthen, we could see GBP/EUR drop back to 1.2273.

With little economic data out this morning, the key focus for market participants today will come this afternoon as key economic data is released in the US. US Retail Sales and Producer Price Index figures will be released at 13:30 GMT and could be a catalyst for some movement in the Greenback, however any major movement over the next few weeks is very likely to be linked to news regarding the progress of fiscal cliff talks. After pushing up to a high of 1.6171 yesterday, GBP/USD has fallen back to, and is currently trading at, the key level of resistance that we discussed yesterday of 1.6124. Another break above this level today would be significantly bullish for GBP/USD.

Mark Webster

BoE and ECB

The Euro has retreated today after the European Central Bank kept rates unchanged at 0.75% and slashed its growth forecasts for 2013. Projected Eurozone growth is now expected to range between -0.9% and +0.3% suggesting that it is more than likely that the Eurozone economy will contract next year.

In the UK, the Bank of England as expected kept interest rates at 0.50% and the Bank’s Quantitative Easing Asset Purchase Programme was also maintained at £375bn.

As a result the Pound is up against the Euro by nearly 1 cent and currently trades at 1.2395 (0.8068) and the Euro is down 1 cent against the US Dollar at 1.2980. The Pound trades relatively flat against the US Dollar currently at 1.6090 on the interbank market.

Matthew Porter 15:15 06/12/12

Go Euro, Go

Today we will see European Finance ministers meet once again to further sure up the current deal regarding Greece. Discussion is likely to focus on the proposed supervisory role for the European Central Bank. Whilst in theory the majority of European finance ministers would be in favour of such a position, it is when it comes to the ironing out of the fine details that there is the potential for disagreement. Notably, leaders of countries outside of the Eurozone have expressed concern that they could be treated as second tier members of the new supervisor, a situation that would clearly be untenable.

Despite the meetings taking place in Europe today and across the pond regarding the fiscal cliff, the Euro has continued to strengthen against Sterling and the Dollar on the back of the Greek debt agreement reached last week. The Euro has risen against both the Pound and Dollar today, with EUR/GBP hitting 0.8128 (GBP/EUR 1.23) and EUR/USD rising to 1.3107. Sterling has also risen against the Dollar today, hitting the key level of resistance at 1.6124 that was mentioned in yesterday’s blog. Cable is continuing to test this level and should it breakthrough, we could well see 1.63 targeted next, however substantial movement will be dependent on the progress of talks regarding the fiscal cliff.

Elsewhere the Reserve Bank of Australia has cut interest rates for the second time in three months. Interest rates have been cut to 3%, equal to the half century low set in 2009, as the Australian economy continues to battle with falling commodity prices and a strong currency. Despite the interest rate drop early this morning, the Aussie Dollar has fared well, buoyed by the positive Chinese data released yesterday and also potentially because of the fact that some market participants felt the rate could have been cut even further. GBP/AUD is currently trading at a daily low of 1.5373.

Mark Webster

Round and Round We Go

The Euro strengthened to a three week high against the Dollar and a month high against Sterling yesterday as optimism grows that a deal on Greece will be reached. Considering that a Greek default, bankruptcy and inescapable exit from the Euro would otherwise be inevitable, an agreement to extend financial aid to Greece seems to be guaranteed, as does a continuation of the Eurozone debt crisis merry-go-round.
After putting up substantial resistance to altering the current Greek target for a debt to GDP ratio of 120% by 2020, the International Monetary Fund has softened its stance and is said to be willing to lessen the target to 124%, a figure still considered viable. This will still leave a gap which is believed to be around 10 billion Euros, a hole that will need to be plugged and the mechanics of how this will be done are still to debated, but this is likely to be easily overcome.

Trading is relatively flat this morning following the release of German GDP and IFO Business Climate figures, as well as UK Mortgage Approvals. The data released so far has been positive across the board which has kept trading relatively flat, apart from a few minor spikes following the immediate release of the figures. The Pound is currently trading close to 1.2342 against the Euro and the rate is continuing to hover at this level where the Pound has found a reasonable amount of support. Should Sterling drop through this, the next level of stiff support for the pound is at 1.2248.

We could also see the Pound drop back off against the Dollar later today, potentially falling back to 1.5911 which is 38.2% retracement of 1.5267 and 1.6309, a level which was tested earlier in the week before the Pound eventually broke through. A break below 1.5911 would likely see support at 1.5882 being reached, with 50% retracement at 1.5788 being targeted after that should the decline continue.
With little more economic data due out for the rest of the week, attention is now likely to turn to the European finance ministers meeting on Monday. As this will be the last meeting before Greece is set to run out of money, it is now expected, and almost certain, that an agreement will be reached and the next tranche of financial aid granted to Greece. Therefore, we could see substantial price movements on Monday, with the Euro likely to be bullish should an agreement on Greece be reached without discord.

ECB & BoE

The Euro has appreciated today following the European Central Bank’s decision to hold rates at 0.75%, pushing the Euro through the psychological level of 1.30 against the US Dollar and consolidating above 0.80p, currently at 0.8045, against the Pound.

Elsewhere, as expected the Bank of England voted to keep interest rates on hold at 0.50% and to continue with its programme of asset purchases known as Quantitative Easing (QE) at current levels totalling £375bn. Following the move in EUR/USD the Pound has ended the day up against the US Dollar at 1.6170 but down against the Euro at 1.2428.

Regarding the future direction of Bank of England rates and QE, and therefore the Pound’s value, focus will now turn to UK inflation data due to be released on 16th October and the minutes of today’s Bank of England meeting due to be published at 09:30 on Wednesday 17th October.

17:00 04.10.12

EURO

The Euro has continued to come under strong selling pressure as the European Central Bank has indicated that it will not accept Greek government bonds as collateral. EURUSD has fallen from the morning high of 1.2282 to a low of 1.2144. 1.2144 representing the lowest EURUSD exchange rate since June 2010 when the rate hit a low of 1.1876.

The Pound has made strong gains against the weakening Euro hitting a high earlier of 1.2866, the highest level since October 2008. Against the US Dollar the Pound tracked the sharp falls in EURUSD with GBP falling from 1.5724 to a low of 1.5626.

20/07/12 15:20

BoE and ECB

As expected the Bank of England has increased its programme of Quantitative Easing by an additional £50bn taking the total asset purchase scheme to £375bn. The Bank also decided to hold the bank rate at 0.50%.

In Europe, the European Central Bank cut its key interest rate by 0.25% to 0.75% a record low.

On the interbank market the Pound has climbed back above 1.25 against the Euro, currently at 1.2525. Whilst the Euro has fallen back below 1.25 against the US Dollar and currently trades at 1.2440. The Pound continues to trade between 1.55 and 1.56 against the US Dollar.

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05/07/12 13:10

European Sovereign Debt Crisis

The European sovereign debt crisis continues to pose a significant threat to the recovery of the Euro-zone and to the wider global economy. The €109bn bail-out agreed in July for Greece may have averted an immediate significant Greek default and contagion spreading to Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain but the Euro-zone continues to face significant challenges. In fact, despite Greece’s significant austerity measures, figures released by the Greek government over the weekend project that the 2011 deficit will be at 8.5% of GDP, well short of the 7.6% target agreed to secure the first bailout. Greece needs to secure the next tranche from the bailout fund of €8bn or it will run out of cash this month. Therefore for the time being Greece will remain firmly in the spotlight.

The ongoing uncertainty over the economic recovery in the UK and Euro-zone has caused some uncertainty in the outlook in the Pound -Euro (GBPEUR) exchange rate. So far the Euro has shown a surprising amount of resilience to the European sovereign debt crisis. Against the Pound the Euro appreciated to a EURGBP high of 0.9083 (GBPEUR 1.1010) at the start of July before falling back to 0.8705 (GBPEUR 1.1488) in the middle of July and settling around 0.8750 (GBPEUR 1.1429) in early August. Throughout September the EURGBP exchange rate traded between 0.8527 (GBPEUR 1.1727) and 0.8795 (GBPEUR 1.1370). The threat of further Quantitative Easing from the Bank of England temporarily weighing on Sterling before Greece once again took the spotlight. Today 3rd October the rate trades in the region of 0.8585 (GBPEUR 1.1645).

In Europe despite the debt crisis, the European Central Bank has increased interest rates to 1.50% compared to the Bank of England’s 0.50%. The full 1% interest rate differential advantage the Euro holds compared to Sterling, coupled with the threat of further Quantitative Easing from the Bank of England has so far prevented the Pound from appreciating significantly against the Euro. Currently we are hopeful that the Pound will eventually make some further progress against the Euro towards 1.18-1.20. However, the fragility of the UK economic recovery and the threat of further Quantitative Easing does pose a threat to this view. We expect to continue to see increased levels of volatility in the foreign exchange markets.

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BoE and ECB

The Pound has appreciated against the Euro following today’s Bank of England and European Central Bank (ECB) interest rate announcements. Both Banks kept their interest rates on hold at 0.50% and 1.50% respectively.

However, in the following ECB press conference, ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet struck a more cautious tone, warning that the Euro-zone economy will grow more slowly than previously expected and that the risks to medium-term inflation had moderated.

Whilst stopping short of hinting at rate cuts in the short term, it is now more likely that we could see an interest rate cut from the ECB within the next 12 months. If the current interest rate differential narrows between the UK and the Euro-zone the Pound should gain against the Euro.

The Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) does not hold a press conference following their announcement so the market will eagerly await the release of the MPC minutes on the 21st of September and the Bank of England Quarterly Inflation Report on the 16th November. The possible threat of further Quantitative Easing still poses a significant threat to the Pounds value.

The Euro has depreciated against both the US Dollar and Pound hitting a low earlier of 1.3945 and 0.8705 (1.1487) before recovering modestly.  Elsewhere, the Pound continues to trade either side of 1.60 against the US Dollar.