ECB expected to tread carefully amid mounting global insecurities


Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB)

Dario Pignatelli | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB)

Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank (ECB), is unlikely to give too much away at his press conference this week amid a surge in economic uncertainty.

The Italian economist will speak once again following the ECB Governing Council’s rate decision on Thursday, with the bank expected to be cautious to prevent any unwanted tightening of financing conditions. This means Draghi won’t reveal much on any potential end to the ECB’s massive bond-buying scheme, brought in after the euro zone sovereign debt crises to boost lending and stoke inflation.

The threat of a trade war triggered by President Donald Trump — with the U.S. set to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum — has spooked investors and business leaders alike. Meanwhile, the rise of populism in Italy has done little to calm their nerves.

The euro zone’s central bank will also publish new staff projections Thursday, but given the still subdued inflation data, no major shift upwards in their inflation forecasts are expected, despite a blossoming economy.

“Still, helped by stronger wage growth in Germany, the June meeting should set in motion the final push to end QE (quantitative easing) this year,” said Anatoli Annenkov, ECB watcher with Societe Generale, said in a research note.

“The new staff forecast (this Thursday) could point to slightly higher growth and inflation this year but unchanged core inflation.”

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