Wednesday, May 6, 2009

From Forbes - a story about what the ECB may or may not do at their meeting tomorrow.

Expectations are that the base rate will have another cut to 1%. For mortgages in the eurozone this should mean continuing falls in the various Euribor rates. The monthly Euribor rate is now 0.9% reflecting the expected reduction. This means that mortgages in Spain based on the monthly Euribor can currently be arranged at around 2.4%.

The UK base rate is expected to hold steady. This has meant that the gap between UK and Eurozone rates will narrow. This has led to a strengthening in the pound, which is also good news for Brits with mortgages in the Eurozone, as they will have a reduction in their payments, and an increase in the amount of euros that their pound buys.

The market wants it to bring in quantitative easing on Thursday, but it could be disappointed.
LONDON--European investors are trying to figure out what the ECB will do to shore up the euro zone economy at its policy meeting on Thursday. Ever since the governor of the bank hinted that "non conventional" methods could be introduced at the May meeting, there has been frenzied speculation about whether or not it will join the Federal Reserve in introducing a form of quantitative easing, most likely by buying government bonds or corporate debt to get money flowing through the economy.
Europe's leading 50 shares were trading 0.4% higher at midday on Wednesday, led by the banking and insurance sectors. According to Ken Wattrett, a euro zone economist at BNP Paribas , the central bank will probably extend the maturity of its refinancing operations to 12 months, from six months and cut its repurchasing rate to 1.00% from 1.25%, a record low for the bank. The ECB will also probably keep its deposit rate stable at 0.25%. The big unknown is whether or not it will introduce a form of quantitative easing. Recent remarks by members of the ECB's governing council have suggested it is deeply split on the issue.
Britain's central bank, which also meets on Thursday, is expected to keep rates on hold. The Bank of England cut its benchmark borrowing rate to 0.5% last March and announced a quantitative easing program to buy 75.0 billion pounds ($100.0 billion) of gilts and corporate debt.
Recent data has presented a mixed picture of how far along the cycle the European economy is. While the closely-watched PMI index of services business activity for April saw its biggest gain in seven years, the European Commission has warned that the situation will continue to deteriorate and earlier this week said it expected the region's gross domestic product to shrink by 4.0% this year, and for unemployment to rise by 8.5 million, to 26.0 million. Similarly in Britain, the purchasing managers' index for April--which measures business activity--jumped unexpectedly to 48.7 from 45.5 the month before, but house pricess have continued to fall, sliding 17.7% in April on a year ago, according to the latest data from Nationwide.
Market sentiment about the banking sector was at least boosted by BNP Paribas on Wednesday. The bank reported profits of 1.6 billion euros ($2.1 billion), a smaller drop than the market had been expecting, due to strong investment-banking revenues at its fixed-income division. Shares of the bank rose 6.2%, or 2.62 euros ($3.5 billion), to 44.83 euros ($59.62), in Paris.

No comments: