The euro currency moved to a new 2017 price high against the U.S. dollar, as European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi delivered an upbeat assessment of the Eurozone economy, following the central bank’s decision to leave monetary policy on hold at the July meeting of its governing council.
For the time being the ECB’s bond buying programme will remain capped at €60 billion per month, and its deposit rate of -0.4% for banks, and base interest rate will be maintained at 0.0%.
Mario Draghi said ECB policymakers would discuss potential changes to the bank’s bond-buying scheme in the autumn, lifting the euro to a 14-month high against the greenback, at 1.1676.
The ECB President Mario Draghi however struck a dovish tone when discussing Eurozone inflation, noting “Inflation is not where we want it to be and where it should be” and “We are still confident that it will gradually get there but it is not there yet. That is why we reiterated that our package of monetary accommodation is still needed”.
Market participants have been keenly watching for any change in the wording of the bank’s policy statement for hints about when further tapering may occur. That hint did not come on Thursday with the statement unchanged from the bank’s June meeting, and Draghi said that policymakers were “unanimous” in their decision not to change its wording.
There were no surprises from the Bank of Japan (BOJ), which maintained its ultra-loose monetary policy. The bank kept interest rates at -0.1%, and maintained its inflation target at 2.0%. However, in light of persistently low inflation levels, the BOJ extended the timeline for the inflation target by one year, saying it expected inflation to reach 2% by fiscal year 2020.
The USDJPY pair initially moved higher following the BOJ press conference, rising to 112.49, but later fell back below the 111.2 level, as the U.S. dollar index weakened across the board.
The Australian dollar climbed to a two-year peak versus the greenback, moving to $0.7992, after an upbeat June job report, increasing the chances of the Reserve Bank of Australia moving closer to an interest rate rise. On Thursday, the Australia Bureau of Statistics said the unemployment rate held steady at 5.6%, and the Australian economy had created 14,000 new jobs, beating analyst forecasts.
The New Zealand dollar also rose sharply higher against the US dollar, moving above the 0.74 U.S. cents level for the first time in 10 months, as traders continued to move into higher yielding commodity related currencies.
The U.S. dollar index fell across the board at the start of the week, as the Trump administration health care bill stalled in the Senate before lawmakers even had a chance to vote on the proposal. President Trump had promised to pass the health care bill before the summer break, but was unable to get Congress to pass the bill, even though the Republicans enjoy a majority in both houses of Congress.
With this latest setback, there is growing scepticism as to whether Trump will be able to convince Congress to pass other key parts of his agenda on tax reform and fiscal spending.
In the upcoming trading week, global GDP figures and the U.S Federal Reserve take centre stage. The United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the United States all release gross domestic product figures for the second fiscal quarter.
We also see the release of the German manufacturing PMI for the month of June, and the United States Federal Reserve interest rate decision and policy statement.