ECB Meeting: What Did Trichet Say?

ECB President Trichet does it once again. He has under delivered and postponed the inevitable. This morning, the central bank cut interest rates by only 25bp to 1.25 percent instead of the widely expected 50bp cut, sending the Euro through the roof.

Some questions immediately come to mind, which Trichet elegantly answered in his post meeting press conference (disclaimer: these are my interpretations):

Why Did the ECB Cut by 25bp Instead of 50bp?

1. To Maintain Rate Corridor
2. Give Themselves Room to Cut Again in May
3. 6 Month and 12 Month Money Market Rates are Below U.S. Levels

Will Interest Rates Be Reduced Further?

Yes, next month probably by another 25bp to 1 percent. Trichet explicitly said that 1.25 percent will not be the low.

What About Quantitative Easing and Non-Standard Measures?

Brace yourself, full details should come on May 7th (their next monetary policy meeting). The central bank will decide at that meeting if they want to implement new unconventional measures and if so, they will provide full details.

What is the outlook for growth and inflation?

ECB expects inflation to turn negative in the middle of the year and back to positive towards year end. As for growth, it should remain weak in 2009 but gradually recover in 2010.

What does this mean for the Euro?

This is my opinion and not the ECB’s. The Euro could rally a bit further this week because of position adjustments (many people anticipated a 50bp rate cut) but since the ECB will be cutting again and there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the scope of nonstandard measures, further gains in the EUR/USD over the next month could be limited.

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5 Comments

  1. Trichet is still worried about long term inflation and so will not cut as aggressively as Fed, BoJ or BoE.
    QE if it happens at all in Eurozone will not happen until Q4 if at all, i suspect it will not.
    Suspect Euro will still remain strong throughout this and would not back long term against Euro!!

    Reply
  2. Perhaps it was a good decision from a trader’s point of view, but Trichet’s mandate is not to make the euro rally. it is primarily to keep inflation in check. However, with CPI already at a low 0.6%, and GDP change -1.3%, deflation is more of a risk now. and deflation is both very destructive to an economy, and a very hard thing to combat.

    I reserve a lot of respect for Trichet and the ECB. He does his own thing, and appears unbowed by outside pressures. just recently, the call for CEE countries to join the euro without the usual qualifications was soundly and rightly rejected.

    Having said all that, I still believe there’s downside risk for the Euro with the CEE debt, PIIGS, and potential adoption of euro-style QE.

    Reply
  3. The combination of rising unemployment rate and declining home prices is a volatile concoction which could easily destabilize a fragile financial sector.

    Reply

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