Tag Archives: monetary policy

ECB & BoE Reaction: EUR Lower

The European Central Bank (ECB) will start its new government bond-buying programme on 9th March hoping to boost growth and lift inflation in the ailing Eurozone. The ECB plans to spend €60bn a month on buying sovereign bonds and some private sector assets with the purchases likely to last until at least September 2016.

In the UK the Bank of England (BoE) kept rates unchanged, meaning they have now been at their record low of 0.50% for six years. Whist none of the leading economists polled by Reuters expect the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee to raise rates before the UK general election in May, there are some expectations that the BoE may increase rates sooner than currently forecast by the markets meaning that the ECB and BoE could have diverging monetary policies, thus supporting the Pound further against the Euro.

The Euro (EUR) fell to its lowest level against the US Dollar (USD) in over 11 years hitting a low so far of 1.1008 on the interbank market. The Euro also fell against the Pound (GBP) with EUR/GBP hitting a low of 0.7224 (GBP/EUR high 1.3842).

POUND LOWER FOLLOWING BANK OF ENGLAND MINUTES

The Pound has fallen following the release of the latest minutes from the Bank of England as all 9 Monetary Policy Committee members voted to hold UK interest rates at their low of 0.50%. In previous meetings 2 members had voted for an increase in the Bank of England interest rate. These minutes have reinforced recent market expectations that it is now unlikely that the Bank of England will increase interest rates in 2015 making the Pound less attractive.

The Pound fell against the US Dollar from an earlier GBP/USD high of 1.5180 to 1.5077 before recovering back to 1.51 whilst against the Euro the Pound fell from GBP/EUR 1.3125 to 1.3020 before recovering back above 1.3050.

Elsewhere the Euro continues to trade at its lowest level against the US Dollar since 2003 trading in the 1.15s and the Swiss Franc remains strong with EUR/CHF trading near parity at 1.0009 and USD/CHF trading at 0.8650.

USD Strength

The US Dollar remains supported as US employment data beat expectations with the US employment rate falling from 5.8% to 5.6% the lowest level since June 2008. The Federal Reserve has held interest rates near zero since 2008 but expectations are increasing that the Federal Reserve will start to increase interest rates this year, possibly in the second quarter.
This coupled with the expectation that the European Central Bank will ease monetary policy has forced EUR/USD to its lowest levels since December 2005, hitting a low of 1763.
In the UK the Pound was supported earlier this morning by better than expected manufacturing and trade balance data pushing GBP/EUR to a high of 1.2844 and GBP/USD up to 1.5174 before receding to 1.2820 and 1.5096.

USD Strength as Fed ends Quantitative Easing programme

The USD has appreciated following the Federal Reserve’s announcement that its programme of Quantitative Easing (QE) will end. Despite the global economic slowdown, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) were generally more upbeat about the underlying strength of the US economy than in previous months but did state that interest rates would remain on hold at their current lows for a considerable time.

The Dollar has appreciated against the Pound, forcing GBP/USD back below 1.60, hitting a low of 1.5962 so far. Against the Euro and Swiss Franc the US Dollar has also advanced forcing EUR/USD down to 1.2556 and USD/CHF up to 0.9606.

A copy of the FOMC Statement can be found below:

http://federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/monetary/20141029a.htm

October 29 2014

 

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in September suggests that economic activity is expanding at a moderate pace. Labor market conditions improved somewhat further, with solid job gains and a lower unemployment rate. On balance, a range of labor market indicators suggests that underutilization of labor resources is gradually diminishing. Household spending is rising moderately and business fixed investment is advancing, while the recovery in the housing sector remains slow. Inflation has continued to run below the Committee’s longer-run objective. Market-based measures of inflation compensation have declined somewhat; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.

Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The Committee expects that, with appropriate policy accommodation, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, with labor market indicators and inflation moving toward levels the Committee judges consistent with its dual mandate. The Committee sees the risks to the outlook for economic activity and the labor market as nearly balanced. Although inflation in the near term will likely be held down by lower energy prices and other factors, the Committee judges that the likelihood of inflation running persistently below 2 percent has diminished somewhat since early this year.

The Committee judges that there has been a substantial improvement in the outlook for the labor market since the inception of its current asset purchase program. Moreover, the Committee continues to see sufficient underlying strength in the broader economy to support ongoing progress toward maximum employment in a context of price stability. Accordingly, the Committee decided to conclude its asset purchase program this month. The Committee is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. This policy, by keeping the Committee’s holdings of longer-term securities at sizable levels, should help maintain accommodative financial conditions.

To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee today reaffirmed its view that the current 0 to 1/4 percent target range for the federal funds rate remains appropriate. In determining how long to maintain this target range, the Committee will assess progress–both realized and expected–toward its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation. This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial developments. The Committee anticipates, based on its current assessment, that it likely will be appropriate to maintain the 0 to 1/4 percent target range for the federal funds rate for a considerable time following the end of its asset purchase program this month, especially if projected inflation continues to run below the Committee’s 2 percent longer-run goal, and provided that longer-term inflation expectations remain well anchored. However, if incoming information indicates faster progress toward the Committee’s employment and inflation objectives than the Committee now expects, then increases in the target range for the federal funds rate are likely to occur sooner than currently anticipated. Conversely, if progress proves slower than expected, then increases in the target range are likely to occur later than currently anticipated.

When the Committee decides to begin to remove policy accommodation, it will take a balanced approach consistent with its longer-run goals of maximum employment and inflation of 2 percent. The Committee currently anticipates that, even after employment and inflation are near mandate-consistent levels, economic conditions may, for some time, warrant keeping the target federal funds rate below levels the Committee views as normal in the longer run.

Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Janet L. Yellen, Chair; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Lael Brainard; Stanley Fischer; Richard W. Fisher; Loretta J. Mester; Charles I. Plosser; Jerome H. Powell; and Daniel K. Tarullo. Voting against the action was Narayana Kocherlakota, who believed that, in light of continued sluggishness in the inflation outlook and the recent slide in market-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations, the Committee should commit to keeping the current target range for the federal funds rate at least until the one-to-two-year ahead inflation outlook has returned to 2 percent and should continue the asset purchase program at its current level.

 

 

Pound Falls as UK Inflation Slows

The Pound has fallen this morning, most notably against the US Dollar, as UK Consumer Price Index data confirms UK inflation slowed to the least in five years last month at 1.2%, adding pressure on the Bank of England to keep interest rates at record lows for longer. Lower UK interest rates make the Pound less attractive to international investors seeking higher yield. The perception earlier this year that the Bank of England may raise rates in early 2015 had helped the Pound to appreciate to a high of 1.7191 in July against the US Dollar and 1.2875 against the Euro as recently as 1st October. As the market increasingly begins to price out imminent Bank of England rate rises the Pound trades today as low as 1.5948 against the US Dollar and as low as 1.2570 against the Euro.

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ECB CUT

The Euro has depreciated sharply today following the European Central Bank’s (ECB) decision to cut the benchmark interest rate by another 0.10% to a new record low of 0.05%. The deposit rate was also lowered further into negative territory to -0.20%. ECB President Mario Draghi also announced the ECB will launch an asset purchase programme; buying debts from banks in a move that is hoped will add liquidity into the financial system and revive lending.

The Euro fell more than 1% against both the US Dollar and British Pound. Falling back below 1.30 against the US Dollar, hitting a low so far of 1.2969 and to a low of 0.7905 (1.2650) against the Pound. Further action including more aggressive stimulus measures such as Quantitative Easing from the ECB is still possible in the future.

Currency Matters

Stock markets across Europe and America have fallen as shares in one of Portugal’s largest banks were suspended after falling more than 17% after reports that their parent company missed some short term debt repayments, a reminder that the European banking crisis may not be over.

With US interest rates set to stay near zero this year and the market looking for safe havens the Japanese Yen appreciated sharply, forcing USD/JPY from a high of 101.66 to 101.07 before recovering slightly to 101.18, still down 0.42%. The Euro has fallen but has remained surprisingly resilient, falling against the USD from 1.3649 and currently trading at 1.3597 but could be susceptible to further falls should confidence in the Portuguese banking system and the wider Eurozone continue to deteriorate.

In the UK, the Pound is relatively steady after the Bank of England voted to maintain the Bank Rate at 0.50% and maintain its asset purchases at £375bn. GBP/USD has traded between 1.7106 and 1.7122. GBP/EUR has appreciated from 1.2551 this morning currently at a high of 1.2595.

European Central Bank Rates Hit Historic Low

In an effort to encourage lending, stimulate the Eurozone economy and avoid deflation the European Central Bank (ECB) today cut its main benchmark rate from 0.25% to 0.15%. More significantly the ECB cut its deposit rate from 0.00% to minus 0.10% meaning that commericial banks will have to pay the ECB to lodge their money with the central bank in a bid to incentivise banks to lend to businesses rather than hoard cash at the ECB, therefore stimulating economic growth. The ECB also exteneded its programme of long term loans offerd to banks who lend to businesses. ECB President Mario Draghi indicated that further measures could be introduced in the future.

 

Following the ECB announcement and the following press conference the Euro fell from a high of 1.3643 to a low of 1.3504 before recovering to just below 1.36 by 14:00 GMT. Against the Pound the Euro fell from 0.8139 (1.2286) to a low of 0.8065 (1.2399) before appreciating back towards 0.81p by 14:00 GMT.

 

Elsewehere, as expected the Bank of England maintained its Bank Rate at 0.50% and the size of its Assett Purchase Programme at £375bn. We now await the minutes of that meeting due to be released 08:30 GMT on Wednesday 18th June to gain an insight into if the Bank of England is any nearer to raising UK internest rates. The Pound continues to trade between 1.67 and 1.68 against the US Dollar.

GBP Higher Following Bank of England Minutes

Minutes released today from the Bank of England meeting held 7-8th May 2014 show that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted unaminously to maintain the Bank Rate at 0.50% and maintain the stock of purchased assets financed by the issuance of central bank reserves, known as Quantitative Easing at £375 billion. Whilst the vote was unaminous to hold rates the minutes indicated that some MPC members are beginning to think that the time may be close for an interest rate rise. The prospect of an interest rate rise makes the Pound more attractive and can be attributed to the Pound’s strong performance. Following the release of the minutes and coupled with strong UK retail sales data the Pound appreciated to a high of 1.6920 against the US Dollar and to 1.2340 against the Euro, before retracing slightly against both currencies.

http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/minutes/Documents/mpc/pdf/2014/mpc1405.pdf

 

Bank of England

As expected The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted to maintain the Bank Rate at 0.50%. The MPC also voted to maintain the stock of purchased assets financed by the issuance of central bank reserves, known as Quantitative Easing, at £375 billion.

The Pound remains well supported and trades near the recent highs. At 12:30 the Pound was trading on the interbank market at 1.6777 against the US Dollar and at 1.2095 against the Euro.