Currency Matters: EURO
The Euro has fallen across the board over the weekend as Italians voted “No” in a referendum rejecting Prime Minister Renzi’s constitutional reforms, prompting his resignation. The anti EU and populist 5 Star Movement campaigned hard for a “No” vote and the outcome will be seen as an indication of growing support of Italy’s populist anti EU Movement and is seen as confirmation of growing anti-establishment/anti EU sentiment across Europe. However, it is worth noting that in the short term a grand coalition will likely be formed keeping 5 Star away from power and most Italians do continue to support Euro membership. Moreover, in Austria the electorate voted for Pro-European Alexander Van der Bellen against the anti EU and far right candidate Norbert Hofer.
The markets reacted clearly, pushing the Euro sharply lower through a 12 month low to 1.0507 against the Dollar. Against the Pound the Euro fell to its lowest level since the BREXIT Referendum result to 0.8305 (GBP/EUR 1.2041).
In the UK, today marks the start of the key landmark legal hearing by the Supreme Court on whether Parliament’s consent is required before the Government can trigger Article 50 – the formal process of leaving the EU. This follows the election of pro-EU Liberal Democrat Sarah Olney in the Richmond Park by-election following Zac Goldsmith’s, a prominent “Leave” supporter, decision to quit the Conservative party and run again as an independent following the Conservative Government’s decision to expand Heathrow.
The European Central Bank (ECB) meeting on Thursday will be seen as the key event this week. Policymakers are set to decide on the future of the EUR 80b a month asset purchase program, which is scheduled to end in March. The result of the Italian referendum will heighten the need for the ECB to extend the program. Meanwhile, depending on market reactions to the referendum, the ECB could also tilt the program towards Italian government bonds to stabilize any volatility. Markets are currently expecting a six month extension to the program. The Euro would be vulnerable to deeper falls if the ECB announce something greater than that.
The Euro could continue to fall and the next level of support against the US Dollar is 1.0461 and 0.8116 (GBP/EUR 1.23) against the Pound.
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