Euro catches a breath ahead of ECB meeting
The battered euro took a breather today ahead of this week’s European Central Bank meeting, while commodity currencies eased from recent peaks as investors reckoned war-driven surges in energy, grains and metals could crimp long-term demand.
The euro hovered around $1.0913 in Asian trade, a modest recovery from Monday’s 22-month low of $1.0806.
The euro was boosted by a Bloomberg News report that cited unnamed officials who said the European Union was discussing joint bond issuance.
Such a move could mean stimulus and a step toward a fiscal union. But details were scant and analysts also said the euro is unlikely to rise much while there is so much worry about the war in Ukraine spreading.
Fighting has not abated and oil futures are climbing again on news of a US ban on Russian oil.
Sterling, which has been sold along with the euro, has barely recovered and was pinned near a 16-month low at $1.3120.
The US dollar index is just below a 22-month peak at 99.015.
“Our near-term pessimism is driven by a view that investor fears that the war could extend beyond the Ukraine’s borders will not dissipate quickly,” said Standard Chartered’s global head of G10 FX research, Stephen Englander.
He expects the euro will fall to $1.06 by the end of the quarter before slowly creeping toward $1.14 by year-end if some kind of agreement to contain fighting is reached.
But he added that it would probably fall below parity if the war were to spread.
The European Central Bank meets tomorrow with the spectre of stagflation prompting economists to figure that policymakers might delay rate hikes until late in the year.
Enthusiasm for commodity currencies as surging export prices boost terms of trade also appears to be wavering since sky high raw material costs also act as a tax on consumers and a brake on world growth.
The Australian dollar, steady around $0.7285 today, is about 2% below Monday’s four-month high of $0.7440. The kiwi, at $0.6814, is about 1.6% beneath its Monday high.
Surging oil costs are dulling the lustre of the yen as a safe-haven, since import spending propelled Japan to its largest current account deficit since 2014 in January. The yen touched a three-week low of 115.87 today.
Russia’s onshore currency market is expected to open for the first time this week this morning.
The rouble, along with other Russian assets, has taken a drubbing since Russia launched what it called a “special military operation” last month, and fell as low as 160 per dollar in offshore trade this week, last recovering to 130.
Cryptocurrencies rose on speculation the White House may soften its combative approach to digital assets. Bitcoin was last up 7% at $41,600 and ether was up 5% to $2,720.
US President Joe Biden is expected to sign a long-awaited executive order this week directing the Justice Department, Treasury and other agencies to study the legal and economic ramifications of creating a US central bank digital currency, a source familiar with the matter said.