By Ruma Dubey
The European Central Bank (ECB) meet today was anxiously awaited- more so because of the change in the situation now that Brexit has happened. This is the first ECB meet after Brexit.
Asian stocks had hit nine-month highs in the morning as there is now very strong talk about Japan considering a stimulus of at least 20 trillion yen to boost its economy.
In case of ECB, no one with logical thinking had really expected its President, Mario Draghi to announce a stimulus as such because the reasonable thing to do would be to wait for the data to emerge about Brexit, they do not know how to assess the effect of Brexit at this moment. And really, at this point of time, no rate change was expected.
And that is precisely that happened at the ECB meet today evening. Rates were kept unchanged and Draghi said that and he expects key rate to stay at "present or lower levels for extended period of time.” Currently the rates are - Marginal lending rates at 0.25%, refinancing is at 0% and deposit rate is -0.4%. Post this no change stance, neither the European stocks nor the Euro showed any movement.
All ears and eyes were then pinned once again on the clock – 6 PM India time, Mario Draghi was to hold a Press Conference and all wanted to see if he would give hints of a stimulus for later, or maybe discuss ways to extent QE beyond March. There is fear that Europe might soon run out of bonds and all were hoping that Mario Draghi will offer clues on how the ECB could go about relaxing its rules governing bond purchases. Stress test results of banks are expected next week and Italy is already showing signs of a lot of stress.
And the ensuing Press Conference did not give us anything, not even a hint but here are the highlights:
No talks on widening QE; no hint too; for now to continue till March’17
Q2 growth to be lower than Q1 in Eurozone
Brexit is a headwind for recovery
Risks to Eurozone growth tilted to the downside
Rates to stay low, well beyond March, which is the Q2 horizon
Inflation to continue to remain very low, to pick up only in 2017 and 2018
Fiscal stance to be mildly expansionary in 2016 and neutral in 2017, 2018
Focus is to maintain price stability in the medium term
See support from still relatively lower oil prices
The next ECB meet is in September and that time too, ECB is not expected to do much as world attention then will be on the elections in USA, scheduled for November.
The Indian markets will shrug off this event and will once again decide to focus on domestic issues – mainly the earning season means activity will be stock specific.