08 February 2013: Draghi talks down the Euro

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The Euro dropped to its lowest level in two weeks on Friday. The fall back came after the President of ECB (the European Central Bank), Mario Draghi, at a press conference yesterday warned against a strong Euro’s negative impact on the European economy. The French President had issued a similar warning prior to the ECB meeting, underlying the risk for a currency war spurred by monetary easing in US and Japan. Currency policies will be on the top of the agenda when the G-20 meets later in the month.

Draghi stressed that the exchange rate is important for growth and price stability. Draghi expected that economic activity in the euro area would gradually recover in 2013, but there are more negative than positive risks. Euro/USD traded at 1.3410 after falling close to one percent on Thursday. The Euro slipped to a two week low against the British pound which broadly strengthened on comments from the incoming Bank of England director, Mark Carney. Carney gave no hints that he favored immediate British monetary easing.

Despite the decline the Euro seems relatively strong. The common currency might be supported by the perception that ECB’s monetary easing is much weaker than US Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan. While the ECB is shrinking its balance sheet, FED and BOJ are expanding theirs. The Euro is probably going to stabilize in 1.33 – 1.35 area unless there is a major upset in the forthcoming Italian elections.

Shares were weaker yesterday prompted by Draghi’s comments on the Euro and Europe’s outlook. Wall Street fall and Growth sectors were especially hard hit. Asian shares, however, rose on solid Chinese trading data. China said that exports grew 25 % compared with January 2012. This confirms a solid recovery trend. Oil prices continue to rise. Brent crude is trading close to USD 118 a barrel. Copper prices are up 0,5%.

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