Sunday, 22 July, 2018

Asian stocks mixed after European Central Bank announcement, USA data

Daniel Roland  AFP  Getty Images Daniel Roland AFP Getty Images
Lindsey Cook | 17 June, 2018, 11:42

The ECB said its Governing Council will continue to make net purchases under the asset purchase programme (APP) at the current monthly pace of Euro 30 billion until the end of September 2018.

CURRENCIES: The dollar was flat at 110.65 yen and the euro strengthened to $1.1591 from $1.1560.

The biggest complication could be a murky economic outlook, muddied by the developing trade war, a populist challenge from Italy's new government and softening export demand.

The dollar slipped against its global peers Friday and global stocks fell as the United States slapped new tariffs on Chinese goods, reviving the markets fears of an escalating trade war, dealers said.

Elsewhere, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) left borrowing costs for interbank loans unchanged on Thursday, a surprising decision that shrugged off the Fed's rate increase.

The Asia Pacific MSCI index ex-Japan edged down 0.3%, with many regional markets shrugging off a strong close on Wall Street.

TOKYO, June 15 ― Asian shares wobbled today as investors braced for U.S. tariffs against China, while the euro flirted with two-week lows after a cautious European Central Bank indicated it would not raise interest rates for some time.

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The greenback's weakness gave the euro some breathing space after a slump in the currency sparked by the European Central Bank's promise that interest rates will remain low for at least another year.

EURUSD initially spiked higher on the apparent hawkishness before paring those gains and heading back below 1.18 to trade on the 1.1740 level, said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst for Markets.com. US President Donald Trump was planning to meet with trade advisers later to decide whether to activate the tariffs, a senior administration official said on Wednesday.

"The Governing Council expects the key European Central Bank interest rates to remain at their present levels at least through the summer of 2019 and in any case for as long as necessary to ensure that the evolution of inflation remains aligned with the current expectations of a sustained adjustment path", the European Central Bank said in a statement. The program is credited with raising inflation to the ECB's target of just under 2 percent. More evidence arrived that the US economy is improving, meanwhile, which helped send the S&P 500 to its fourth gain in the last five days.

Its U.S. counterpart, the Federal Reserve, has already halted bond purchases and has increased interest rates seven times since late 2015.

Dean Turner, UK economist at UBS Wealth Management, said: "Today's meeting came at a challenging time for the European Central Bank, considering the political turbulence in Italy and the string of soft data coming out of the eurozone in recent months".

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were up 0.1% at $66.93 a barrel, while Brent was down 0.1% at $75.87.

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