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Gold at three-week high as European Central Bank comments lift euro, dollar falls
21 July 2017, 12:42 | Vickie Mathis
European Central Bank's Draghi to tiptoe to stimulus exit
The euro surged against the USA dollar Thursday after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the currency's level on foreign exchange markets had received "some attention" from his colleagues on the Governing Council.
The euro was near a 14-month high as ECB head Mario Draghi's 1230 GMT post-meeting news conference approached, where the main question will be how close the bank is to winding down its 2 trillion euro stimulus programme.
Investors shrugged off Mr Draghi's downbeat tone, and appear to think the EuropeanCentral Bank could announce plans to scale down the money-printing programme in the next couple of months.
The ECB's decision over when to wind down the stimulus program, however, is precarious because any call would immediately affect bond prices and currency rates.
The bond-buying programme, together with ultra-low interest rates, was created to fend off the threat of deflation hitting the eurozone.
They came just weeks after the ECB's monthly policy meeting in which it dropped its reference to future rate cuts but insisted that interest rates could be expected to "remain at present levels for an extended period of time".
"European markets have seen a clear divergence thanks to the currency market fluctuations, with a Draghi-driven euro rally dragging the DAX lower amid a sharp FTSE ascent thanks to weakness in the pound", said IG market analyst Josh Mahony.
Most economists expect the governing council to postpone any decision on tapering until their September meeting.
Among the most important data expected in the coming week, investors will be keenly waiting for second-quarter U.S. GDP data. Thursday's statement "was a clear sign that the EuropeanCentral Bank does not want to pour more oil on the small taper tantrum fire seen in financial markets over the past week weeks", Brzeski wrote.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen announced at the central bank's monthly meeting last week that USA interest rates were reaching "neutral" levels and any further hikes would be gradual. Asset purchases at the current monthly pace of 60 billion euros (69.39 billion US dollars) will continue until the end of December 2017, or beyond if necessary. Retail sales grew 0.6 percent month-on-month in June, reversing a 1.1 percent fall in May.
"The dollar has fallen quite quickly in a relatively short span of time and any signs of stabilization in economic data might trigger a burst of short covering so it is a good time to take some profits", said Viraj Patel, an FX strategist at ING Bank in London.
As a result the GBP EUR exchange rate remained biased to the downside, with the prospect of an imminent Bank of England (BoE) interest rate hike significantly diminished. He said that eventually those factors would fade, but added, "Are we there yet?"
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