Daily Afternoon Report 03/09/2015
The euro was little changed against the dollar today after the European Central Bank left interest rates on hold, as investors awaited the bank’s post-policy meeting press conference. The ECB kept its benchmark interest rate at a record-low 0.05%, in line with the consensus expectation. The central bank held its marginal lending at 0.30% and left its deposit facility rate unchanged at minus 0.20%. The ECB was expected to cut its inflation forecast later Thursday due to ongoing falls in oil prices and slowing growth in China and President Mario Draghi could also hint at the possibility of further monetary stimulus in order to shore up inflation. The annual rate of inflation in the single currency bloc rose 0.2% in August, unchanged from the previous month, but slightly higher than forecasts of 0.1%. The ECB targets inflation of close to, but just below 2%. Late last month, the ECB’s chief economist Peter Praet warned that risks to its medium-term inflation target have increased and indicated that the bank is prepared to expand its economic stimulus program if necessary. The ECB launched its 60 billion per month quantitative easing program in March after the euro area briefly slid into
Meanwhile, elsewhere, the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was little changed at 95.84. The dollar’s gains were held in check ahead of Friday’s U.S. jobs report for August, which investors hoped would provide clarity on the likelihood of a near-term interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve.
Recent turmoil in global financial markets has raised doubts over whether the Fed will hold off hiking interest rates from record lows at its upcoming policy meeting on September 17.