Thursday, 21 September, 2017

ECB Toyed With Changing Forward Guidance, Worried by Euro Strength

The silhouette of people standing in front of a window in the lobby area of the Jackson Lake Lodge during last year’s Jackson Hole economic symposium European stocks veer lower as Fed rate-hike doubts hurt bank shares
Laurie Berry | 17 August, 2017, 20:18

But concerns were expressed, particularly about the risk of the exchange rate "overshooting" in the future.

The European Central Bank was anxious in July that the euro might become too strong and decided against a change to its forward guidance that could have driven the currency higher, the accounts of its latest meeting showed Thursday.

European Central Bank rate-setters agreed on the need to strike a fine balance between expressing justified confidence in the economic expansion and underlining the need for monetary policy to remain persistent and patient.

The single currency fell more than a quarter of a cent after the report, before rebounding to trade at $1.1701 at 2:03 p.m. Frankfurt time.

They emphasized that "the still favourable financing conditions could not be taken for granted and relied to a considerable extent on a continued high degree of monetary policy support".

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At their July meeting, policy makers also discussed making "incremental" changes to their forward guidance, though they eventually made a decision to keep their policy wording unchanged.

The minutes showed that council members felt inflationary pressure remained below acceptable levels.

At his press conference after the policy meeting, Draghi said officials put off discussions about the future path of quantitative easing until after the summer. Headline CPI stayed unchanged at +1.3% y/y, while core CPI improved for a second consecutive month to +1.27%, in July. They noted the need to look through transient volatility in the headline rate, saying that "to this end, it was important to ensure that inflation expectations remained well-anchored".

The ECB's forward guidance indicates it expects interest rates to remain at current levels for an extended period and well beyond the term of its net asset purchases. The actual timing would be somehow affected by euro's movement. The momentum has accelerated since June as European Central Bank removed the reference that it would move the interest rates "lower" and Draghi suggested in late June that the Eurozone's "deflationary forces have been replaced by reflationary ones". A stronger currency is tightening in nature, making tapering less urgent.

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