Dollar Rallies after Draghi Signals Normalization Would Be Gradual

Euro jumps as ECB hints at the end of quantitative easing

European Central Bank holds interest rates steady

The bank has said it will continue buying 30 billion euros (US$37 million) in bonds per month through September and longer if needed-but has given no precise end date.

Draghi pointed out that the easing bias in the forward guidance was introduced in 2016, when the European Central Bank trimmed the size of its monthly purchases from Euro 80 billion to Euro 60 billion.

Italy's FTSE MIB tacked on 1.2% to 22,731.10, and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index rose 0.6% to end at 7,203.24.

German manufacturing orders fell more than expected (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/german-manufacturing-orders-drop-miss-forecasts-2018-03-08) in January, dropping 3.9%, compared with forecasts of a 1.5% decline.

In the light of the uncertain outlook for inflation, the European Central Bank is still keeping its options open to extend bond buying beyond September, though most analysts expect it to end some time this year.

Another step at its latest council meeting means that the ECB's key interest rate - and thus in rates charged to Irish borrowers - may start to increase in 2019, with implications for households, businesses and the exchequer.

Portuguese bond yields, hovering close to Thursday's six-week low around 1.79 percent, was set for its biggest weekly fall since September, of around 13 bps.

The ECB revised its forecast for the real GDP growth of euro area in 2018 to 2.4 percent in its March 2018 staff macroeconomic projections.

While ECB inflation projections have consumer prices hovering around the 1.5% inflation rate by the end of 2018 and rising gradually over the medium term, Draghi told reporters that underlying inflation measures will remain subdued - so "victory can not be declared yet".

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Economic growth in the eurozone, while robust, has never reached levels in this cycle to have caused any inflationary problems.

"The end of QE is getting closer".

European Union officials have outlined planned retaliatory measures on targeted American exports to be rolled out if the USA makes good on its threat, while China has said it would make 'an appropriate and necessary response.

"But the potential outbreak of a trade war with the United States has tied Mario Draghi's hands behind his back".

AP reports from Frankfurt that Europe's top monetary official criticized U.S. President Donald Trump's proposal to put tariffs on steel and aluminum imports as a "dangerous" unilateral move.

He added: "This approach is consistent with above trend economic growth, a continued reduction in the output gap and gradual upward pressure on inflation towards target".

In turn this is likely to drive down market risk appetite which may weigh on the Australian Dollar. The main message is that continued strong growth would lower spare capacity in the economy and eventually lead to a sustained rise in inflation.

That makes it less likely they will heed Draghi's longstanding call to reform and cut debts and deficits while the sun shines.

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