Will ECB offer any surprises on Thursday?

Euro climbs ahead of ECB meeting

While we may not look back at the ECB meeting on Thursday as one of the defining moments in the eurozone’s long recovery from the global financial and debt crises, or even remember it much at all for that matter, that doesn’t mean there won’t be anything to take away from it, or that markets won’t react.

  • ECB left little to the imagination in June
  • Never a good idea to assume an uneventful meeting
  • Will Draghi succeed in talking down the euro again?

At its meeting last month, the ECB laid out plans for its bond buying program (quantitative easing) beyond the current expiry date of September, opting to extend it until the end of the year at half the pace – €15 billion – and warned that interest rates will remain at present levels “at least through the summer of 2019”.

In providing such a clear path for asset purchases and interest rates for the next year, the central bank effectively covered all bases and barring a significant shift in the data or a change in the global landscape, left few questions if any to be answered, making this meeting a potential non-event.

Juncker/Trump Meeting Eyed as Tariffs Hit Outlook

Should we ever anticipate a “non-event”?

One thing we’ve learned in the past though is not to become complacent when the central banks are involved and in the current environment of trade conflicts and Brexit, things can change very quickly. We have to remember that while the recovery is gathering momentum and making encouraging progress, it is still fragile and could be derailed by a number of events which would require the ECB to step back in and offer its support.

Only this week it has been reported that US President Donald Trump intends to slap 25% tariffs on European auto imports and significantly escalate the trade conflict between the US and EU. Jean-Claude Juncker is currently in Washington looking to calm the growing tensions between the two but it seems that unless he is offering concessions, he may not get very far.

What’s more, the UK and EU don’t appear to be getting much closer to agreeing on the divorce and with eight months to go until exit day, this is a notable downside risk for both economies, with the IMF recently warning that a no-deal Brexit that sees the two revert to WTO rules could wipe 1.5% and 4% off EU and UK output, respectively, by 2030.

In terms of the data, the ECB will likely be relatively content, with unemployment continuing to drop – now at 8.4%, the lowest since December 2008 – the economy growing well despite the dip in the first quarter and inflation gradually increasing, albeit less so on from a core perspective. Nothing has really changed on this front since the last meeting that will concern policy makers.

EURUSD Daily Chart

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While the euro has been climbing over the course of the last month, after falling following the ECB announcement and very dovish accompanying statements, it’s now only trading back where it was before the meeting which will be a relief to policy makers. It will be interesting to see if anything they say changes this or if Draghi focuses on talking it lower once again.

Dollar Rally Ends With Trump Monetary Policy and Currency War Comments

The USD fell against major pairs on Friday after US President Donald Trump tweeted that China and the EU manipulate their currency. Trade war escalation has reached a second phase at a time when American politics are having an identity crisis with the ongoing Russian interference during the 2016 elections. Steven Mnuchin will head to Buenos Aires to take part in the finance ministers G20 meeting with trade and monetary policies sure to be a topic of discussion. The European Central Bank (ECB) will announce its main refinancing rate on Thursday, July 26 at 7:45 am EDT with little expectations of a change. ECB President Mario Draghi will host a press conference at 8:30 am EDT with the market focused on his comments for insights into the monetary policy of the central bank.

  • US President worried about Fed’s monetary policy triggers currency war
  • European Central Bank meeting anticipated to be a quiet affair
  • Canadian inflation and retail sales beat expectations

EUR Rises Ahead of ECB as Currency War Concerns Rise

The EUR/USD gained 0.28 percent in the last week. The single currency is trading at 1.1717 after a volatile week is over. The EUR rose 0.73 percent on Friday as Trump’s comments on currency manipulation hit the newswires. The US dollar had fallen on Thursday after President Trump criticized the U.S. Federal Reserve for raising rates and eroding the competitiveness of American products.



In an interview with CNBC the US President said he was not thrilled with the path of interest rates, although he did mention that he would let them do what they feel is best. Earlier in the week Fed Chair Powell testified before the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee side-stepping any comments on trade spats.

The U.S. Federal Reserve has hiked two times already in 2018 leaving the benchmark rate at 175 to 200 basis points. The CME FedWatch tool shows a 86.9 percent chance of a September rate hike and 53.9 percent of a follow up in December. Both sets of probabilities where higher on Wednesday before Trump’s comments were released.

The economic calendar will not feature a large number of North American indicators with the main standout being the release of the first estimate of the US GDP data on Friday, July 27. Analysts forecast a rise of 4.1 percent and could serve as an antidote to Trump’s tweets. The European Central Bank (ECB) will feature on Thursday, but there is little expectation that new guidance will be provided after the June monetary policy meeting.

Loonie Higher on Strong Retail Sales and Inflation Data

The Canadian dollar rose on Friday after the release of retail sales and inflation data. The USD/CAD DROPPED 0.05 percent on a weekly basis. The currency pair is trading at 1.3146 after Canadian retail sales surprised with a 2 percent rise to a seven month high boosted by auto and gasoline sales on Friday. Inflation rose 2.5 on an annual basis in June also impacted by higher gasoline prices. The economic indicators validate the decision of the Bank of Canada (BoC) earlier this month to hike rates by 25 basis points and could further pressure the central bank to lift rates higher despite growing geopolitical headwinds.


Canadian dollar weekly graph July 16, 2018

The US dollar has been on a downward trend since President Trump issued some sharp criticism on the U.S. Federal Reserve monetary policy. The comments took the market by surprise as talking about the currency is not usually the job of the President, but rather the Treasury Secretary. The statements will most likely be discussed as the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires kicks off.

The US President continued to tweet about the unfair strength of the greenback which responded by falling more than 1 percent against the Canadian dollar.

Oil prices recovered from losses earlier in the week but West Texas Intermediate will finish below $70 after concerns about the increase in supply outstripping rising demand.

The GBP/USD dropped 0.76 percent in the last five days. The currency pari is trading at 1.3133 with political headwinds keeping the pound under pressure. The confusing Brexit strategy from the UK government could end up costing Prime Minister May her job as she scrambles to call an early summer recess to avoid challenge to her leadership.



The Bank of England (BoE) held rates unchanged in June, but there were three dissenters. The economic data could support an August rate hike by the central bank, but the question now is will MPC vote for higher rates holding to its mandate, but with a high possibility that Brexit negotiations once again threaten the growth of the UK economy and the reverse action is needed. The market still believes in an August rate hike, but the GBP will continue under pressure from political uncertainty at home and abroad.

Market events to watch this week:

Tuesday, July 24
9:30pm AUD CPI q/q
Wednesday, July 25
10:30am USD Crude Oil Inventories
Thursday, July 26
7:45am EUR Main Refinancing Rate
8:30am EUR ECB Press Conference
8:30am USD Core Durable Goods Orders m/m
Friday, July 27
8:30am USD Advance GDP q/q

*All times EDT
For a complete list of scheduled events in the forex market visit the MarketPulse Economic Calendar

ECB Optimistic But Cautious

The euro rose to a day’s high on Thursday shortly after the European Central Bank (ECB) released minutes of its January meeting.The currency hit $1.23085 at around 12:30 p.m. London time (7:30 a.m. ET) but it eased some of that strength a few minutes later.ECB minutes showed that inflation, the most important economic indicator at the central bank, is set to finally rise. As a result, some market participants briefly interpreted that as an indicator that monetary stimulus will come to an end earlier than previously thought.

Source: European Central Bank leaves policy on hold, inflation set to rise – CNBC

Futures Flat After Hawkish Fed Minutes

Dollar maintains its firmer tone