Thursday, July 02, 2009

The ECB awakens...

...unfortunately, this might be too little, too late. Sweden is mentioned in the article and I am more confident they understand crisis response better than the ECB.

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The European Central Bank kept euro zone interest rates at 1.0 percent on Thursday, and markets expect it to hold them at the all-time low for much of next year to help repair the region's economy.

The decision had been seen as a near certainty. Eighty-one of 82 economists polled by Reuters before the meeting, held this month in Luxembourg, had predicted no change from the bank.

"This was entirely expected," said UBS economist Sunil Kapadia. "We are not expecting any more additional non-standard measures. With the data in the market improving there is no compelling reason to do more right now."

Markets were little changed after the decision. Attention now switches to a 8:30 a.m. EDT news conference with ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet. Economists think he will probably repeat that rates are appropriate at the current record low and that the bank sees faint signs of economic recovery.

Earlier Sweden's central bank shocked markets by cutting its interest rates by a further 25 basis points to 0.25 percent. (for story please click)

But the ECB is likely to refrain from any new policy steps so that it can take stock of its unconventional measures to tackle the euro zone recession -- last week's injection of almost half a trillion euros of ultra-cheap funding into money markets, and the soon-to-be-launched program to buy 60 billion euros' worth of mortgage and public debt-backed bonds.

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