Thursday, 6 February 2014

The five key quotes from Mr Draghi of the ECB

So despite a few voices predicting a cut, Mr Draghi did not move and the ECB held interest rates (at 0.25%) and did not announce any QE.  A dull Central Bank meeting then?  Given the still mixed nature of the European economy not at all: the meeting provided a lot of insight into ECB decision-making (or lack of change in decisions). 

Five key quotes then from Mr Draghi...and some interpretations of what they really mean:

1. 'We want to see clearly through the current uncertainty' - we are not going to cut/undertake QE until it is really bad;

2. '(economic) risks continue to be on the downside' - we know a contraction is more likely than a boom (but we are still hoping for a natural return to trend growth);

3. 'we have acted in November...seeing responses to this' - we cut rates in November.  Don't hassle us yet for another one, let alone the introduction of QE

4. 'is there deflation?  No...(just) low inflation for a protracted period of time' - we know pricing power is weak but we are going to get some growth and some inflation, just maybe not a lot

5. (at the end of an answer to a floor question) 'it is just too long' - is anyone still awake?

To evolve a well-known expression, the ECB is fiddling whilst a sustainable and material European recovery burns.  The rise of the Euro (to just over 1.36 against the US Dollar) risks accentuating the dulling of regional growth hopes too. 

The European markets may be up today on a generally better day - after recent sharp volatility - in the markets but the stalling seen in the Stoxx50 index over the last four months (see below) will continue at best whilst no action is occurring.

The best you can say is that they have another chance to loosen policy and acknowledge the issues in a month's time. 

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