Thursday, 13 December, 2018


NZ dollar climbs above 72 U.S. cents on European Central Bank minutes

Reuters Reuters
Melba Vasquez | 13 January, 2018, 03:29

The euro was on track for a more than 1.5 percent rise since Thursday - its strongest two-day performance since August. Investors also see two 10-basis point increases by June next year.

Gold prices on Thursday approached a four-month high set on the previous day after minutes of a European Central Bank meeting showed a more aggressive tone and boosted the euro against the USA dollar.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, in emailed comments said that the price action in Asia and Europe was a ideal excuse for a "bit of profit making".

In the USA, the Labor Department reported that weekly jobless claims rose by 11,000 to 261,000 new claims, a three-month high. But interest rates, still well into negative territory, are not expected to rise until around mid-2019.

In any event yesterday's move didn't impact United Kingdom and U.S. equity markets with the FTSE100 closing at a record high, while USA markets continued their march onwards to new records with the S&P500 posting its best start to a year since 1987.

With the 19-nation economy increasingly strong enough to withstand an unwinding of unprecedented stimulus, reining in speculation about the ECB's strategy has become more hard, as Draghi knows from experience.

The yield rises are prompting bond investors to ask whether this is the start of a sustained bear market.

The European Central Bank (ECB) released their latest policy outlook last night and it set a fire under the Euro as the language within had gotten decidely more bullish.

The rally came after official data showed retail sales climbed 1.2 percent in November, three times the market forecast and the biggest gain since early 2013.Sales were in large part boosted by demand for new iPhones and Black Friday special offers, so there was a risk of a pullback in December. On Tuesday, the benchmark rose 0.4% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-rise-for-5th-session-in-a-row-stay-at-highest-since-2015-2018-01-09) to end at 400.11, a fresh 2 1/2 year high and the first close above 400 since mid-2015. Chances of an interest rate hike next week, which had climbed on recent strong employment figures, have slipped to around 70 percent from almost 90 percent on Monday, data from the overnight index swaps market showed. "The full normalization of monetary policy will therefore be a long path".

It was still down a steep 1.7 percent for the week, with the Japanese currency having soared as a routine operational reduction in bond purchases by the Bank of Japan triggered speculation that the central bank would unwind its massive stimulus. A change in the way China's central bank manages the yuan sparked losses in that currency.

According to the minutes of the last meeting of the Administration Council in 2017, in order for inflation to reach the target, a wide range of monetary incentives will have to be maintained. This enthusiasm was not matched by markets in Asia where the ripple effects of yesterday's move by the Bank of Japan were still being digested by investors there, and this is likely to be reflected in this morning's European open.

The news raised expectations of more detail on a possible end date for the bond-buying stimulus program. The next meeting is on January 25.

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