ECB gives no signs of normalisation

At his press conference on 27 April, Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank (ECB), gave no sign of normalisation in the central bank’s policy. 

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Interest rates appear likely to stay at their current levels or even lower for some time to come, and the quantitative easing programme could be expanded at any time. But the very end of Draghi’s statement included a swipe at governments in the euro zone. Draghi made it clear that neither member states’ budget policies nor their structural reforms to fight unemployment meet the necessary requirements for a pro-growth policy that would force a normalisation of ECB policy. Two key factors remain at the top of the ECB’s list of priorities: The inflation rate is still too low, and the risks to European growth have not changed and continue to trend downward. As long as there is no change with regard to these two factors, the ECB’s rhetoric will not change, which means that no normalisation of central bank policy is likely to occur any time soon. Although this is not good news for the euro, the elections in France could still give the common currency a bit of a boost. If the elections on 7 May turn out in Emmanuel Macron’s favour, the EUR/USD rate could head toward 1.1500— while in the alternative scenario, parity would be the more likely result.

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