Daily Afternoon Report 08.03.2018

The euro reversed gains on Thursday after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi downplayed a decision to drop a pledge to expand its quantitative easing program from its rate statement.

EURUSD was at 1.2393 after initially rising to a high of 1.2446.

The euro initially rose after the ECB dropped a pledge to extend its stimulus program if necessary from its rate statement, in a sign that it is moving closer to ending its massive monetary stimulus program.

Draghi said the pledge to expand its quantitative easing program had been added to the bank’s rate statement in 2016 when the situation was very different.

The decision to drop the easing bias on QE was unanimous, Draghi said.

He also noted that the ECB maintained its pledge to continue its asset purchase program until September 2018 ‘or beyond, if necessary’.

The ECB revised up its growth forecasts for 2018 to 2.4% from 2.3% in December and left its growth forecast for 2019 and 2020 unchanged at 1.9% and 1.7%, respectively.

Draghi cautioned that growth could be threatened by various downside risks, including protectionism.

The ECB revised down its inflation forecasts for 2019 to 1.4% from 1.5% previously. It still expects inflation of 1.4% in 2018 and 1.7% in 2020.

The euro also pared back gains against the yen and the pound, with EURJPY last at 131.50, down from a high of 131.98 and EURGBP recently at 0.8930.