Passion has died down a bit after that memorable Thursday, February 7, when the president of the European Central Bank (ECB) Mario Draghi cut the ground from under the feet of the euro. What a surprise gave the chief banker of Europe! Ah yes, Mario, ah yes …
Let us try a fresh mind to find out what happened. Attention to a press conference following the meeting Draghi ECB Governing Council will be huge, this was known in advance. Where interested players, mainly a question of what to say Draghi at the rapid strengthening of the euro, which began in the second half of last year and will continue in January.
The excitement around this topic created by the French government, expressing the need to “discuss” overvalued, according to them, the course of the single European currency. As French President, Francois Hollande joined the discussion, investors rightly believed that to remain silent in the ECB will not work.
Mario did not remain silent. At a press conference Draghi in some detail recounted his point of view. First, he identified those items that I expected to hear from him (see in this blog post my article of February 6, “Will Draghi” drown “the euro?”). ECB President mentioned that objective off policy of the central bank is not the achievement of a euro exchange rate, but ensuring price stability. Also the fact that in historical terms the current euro exchange rate is an average, not too high, was marked. All these phrases are quite expected and predictable, and eurobull relied on them.
But those comments were not sufficient for Draghi. Draghi but did not limit those comments. In his speech, he linked the issue of the euro with the problem of price stability, that is, the immediate remit of the central bank. The ECB President said that the euro provides an additional downside risks to inflation, which is so “low-key” and in the next few months should fall below 2%.
It is this statement was those impact that knocked the euro down. After all of the words Draghi can deduce that if inflation falls below the target level of the ECB, the central bank will have to push it. A standard tool to stimulate inflation – lowering rates. Besides Draghi himself immediately said that low inflation allows the central bank to stick soft course so necessary for eurozone economy, trying to get out of recession.
Basically, Draghi said quite the right thing. Eurozone really needs soft enabling policy and low inflation allows it to be carried out. He was right in the fact that the sharp rise of the national currency stimulates reduction of consumer inflation (if only because the prices of imported goods, including energy, are under pressure). However, as economists say, for the significant influence of the exchange rate on inflation in the euro zone, the euro needs to significantly higher levels than at present. But Mario said nothing about it… Finally statement Draghi many understood as a demonstration of “pigeon” attitude until the readiness in case of further growth in the euro to go on lowering rates. After that, the euro was one way – down.
Was the speech Draghi carefully planned verbal attack against the euro? I do not think so. In principle, the market reaction to his speech could have been diametrically opposite. Indeed, in the speech of the ECB and the phrase that the euro is a sign of the return of confidence in the currency. If the market seized on this phrase, we could see the euro growth. But the market always sees what he wants to see. Players are tired of growth in the euro, and before the elections in Italy only looking for a reason “to hit the brakes.”
They found this opportunity on February 7, 2013. You know the rest.
Speech by Mario Draghi, President of the ECB – http://www.ecb.int/press/key/date/2013/html/sp130212_1.en.html
Image source theautomaticearth.com