Euro jumps after ECB minutes; stocks gain with energy

CommentJanuary 15 2018 12:01am The Times Bond market bulls are still running but just with a bit of a limp Oliver Kamm

The European Central Bank should revisit its communication stance in early 2018, accounts of its December meeting showed, suggesting that policymakers could soon start preparing markets for the end of the bank's massive stimulus scheme.

GBP/USD is supported in the range of 1.3455 levels and now trading at 1.3529 levels.

Economists forecast that U.S. inflation will have retreated from 2.2% to 2.1% last month. The dollar weakened the most since March, sending the euro to a three-year high and the pound to its strongest since June 2016.

The Canadian dollar steadied against the greenback after hitting a almost two-week low as investors weighed chances of a Bank of Canada interest rate hike next week and anxious about the possibility of a US withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement.

A change in the ECB's policy message would probably be taken by investors as a sign that rate-setters are getting ready to wind down their 2.55 trillion euro bond-buying programme, the key plank of their stimulus policy for the past three years.

Investors warned that while rising oil prices were supportive, they could weigh negatively especially on crude-consuming regions.

The current exchange rate (at time of writing) is slightly higher at €1.12372 to the pound. The strength comes as a major relief since household spending has been a weak spot in the economy as consumers struggle with sluggish wage growth and record debt levels.

The Euro jumped against the dollar following the release of the European Central Bank minutes.

Bonds recovered somewhat this morning after Chinese officials backtracked on suggestions that the state planned to slow its purchases of U.S. Treasurys.

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The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index lost 0.26 percent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.38 percent.

USA stocks rose to records as retail sales sparked optimism in the economy and JPMorgan Chase & Co. signaled tax cuts will bolster profits.

Dow Jones closed up by 0.80 percent, S&P 500 ended up 0.70 percent, Nasdaq finished the day up by 0.79 percent.

German bond yields hit fresh five-month highs on Friday and the euro hit a three-year high as coalition progress in Germany added to a bond sell-off first triggered by the possibility of a European Central Bank rethink on policy messaging.

Italy's 10-year government bond yield was down 8 basis points at 1.98 percent and the spread over the German equivalent was at its tightest since mid-December at 146 basis points at one stage.

And while the U.S. Federal Reserve has been slowly tightening policy over the last two years, traders have been repricing market expectations of when Europe and Japan will follow suit.

Brent crude futures settled 6 cents higher at $69.26, after hitting $70.05 during the session, its highest level since November 2014.

The SPD are considered heavily pro-Europe, with leader Martin Schulz previous year arguing for closer ties and calling for a "United States of Europe".

Fiat Chrysler shares (FCA.MI) in Milan rose 2.8% after the company said late Thursday it plans to invest $1 billion to shift production (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fiat-chrysler-to-move-some-production-to-michigan-2018-01-11) of its profitable Ram Heavy Duty trucks to Michigan from Mexico.

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