In US trade, the euro continued to strengthen in the wake of comments earlier in the week from ECB President Mario Draghi, who stated that ‘within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro’.
On Friday, a joint Angela Merkel-Francois Hollande statement said ‘France and Germany are fundamentally tied to the integrity of the Euro area. They are determined to do everything to protect it’.
These words of comfort from three of Europe’s most powerful figures provided some calm and reassurance to jittery markets, helping the euro continue to bounce off its recent two-year lows. With expectations now running high heading into Thursday’s meeting, speculation has intensified as to what we’ll hear from the ECB; a rate cut, a resumption of bond purchases, and a new LTRO are just some of the measures supposedly being considered. Just preceding the ECB decision we have an FOMC meeting, with traders also watching for signs of if (and when) the Fed might enact further QE. Will it be at this meeting, its mid-September meeting or not at all?
What is clear is that central bank policy action and follow-up rhetoric will be the key drivers of currency markets this week. Having ended Friday’s Australian session around the 1.2295 level, the euro pushed up to a high of 1.2390 before paring gains to finish the US session at 1.2322. Upon resuming for Asian trade the euro has drifted modestly to be in the mid-1.2290 range.