It’s decision day at the European Central Bank and traders are eagerly awaiting ECB President Draghi’s comments. Today’s ECB meeting is a very important event as it is expected to provide clarity on the withdrawal of stimulus. The majority of analysts expect Mario Draghi to delay announcing a timetable for cutting its monthly bond purchases at this meeting. The reason is the strength of the euro which may prevent the central bank from announcing a big change in monetary policy. Moreover, improving economic conditions in the Eurozone are likely to balance out near-term concerns over the euro’s strength. Ongoing EU improvements thus give room for the ECB to forego an announcement of a QE taper. If the ECB downplays tapering, the euro could fall. In the bullish case of a surprise announcement particularly a reduction of 30 billion or more, the euro will further rise. Whatever the case, the central bank has little choice but to cut asset purchases by next year, simply because it has no more bonds to purchase. In a first step, the ECB could reduce its monthly purchases to 40 billion from 60 billion which could happen at the start of 2018.
It all depends on Draghi’s rhetoric but even in the case of a dovish announcement, the medium-term trend is towards euro strength.
The U.S. dollar, in contrast, has become incredibly oversold. So any disappointments on the Eurozone front would be sufficient to trigger a correction in the EUR/USD, even though a setback may not last very long. Let’s be surprised.
The European Central Bank decision is scheduled for 11:45 UTC, followed by the highly anticipated ECB press conference 45 minutes later.
The euro traded virtually unchanged against the U.S. dollar while the price action of the EUR/USD was limited to a tight range between 1.1950 and 1.1910. We are still waiting for breakouts of that narrow range and prepare for larger swings today. Above 1.1960 the euro could head for 1.2120. Below 1.1890 it could fall back towards 1.18 and possibly even 1.17.
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