Friday, 5 September 2014

ECB cuts rates, announces asset purchases

The European Central Bank cut interest rates at its monetary policy meeting on Thursday.

All three of the ECB's main interest rates were lowered by 10 basis points, with the benchmark rate being cut to 0.05 percent.

In addition, ECB President Mario Draghi announced at a press conference after the meeting that the central bank “will purchase a broad portfolio of simple and transparent securities” as it sees “the risks around the economic outlook on the downside”.

The ECB decision to inject additional monetary stimulus comes even as a report on Thursday showed that the euro area's largest economy, Germany, saw factory orders rebound 4.6 percent in July after having fallen 2.7 percent in June.

Two other major central bank monetary policy meetings on Thursday ended relatively uneventfully. Both the Bank of Japan and the Bank of England left their monetary policies unchanged after their meetings.

There was no central bank meeting in the US on Thursday but generally positive economic reports that day suggest that the Federal Reserve is more likely to remove monetary stimulus than add to it.

A report from Markit showed that its US services PMI dipped to 59.5 in August from 60.8 in July. This pulled the composite index down to 59.7 last month from 60.6 the previous month.

However, both indices remain well above the 50 mark that signals expansion in activity.

Other US data on Thursday were even more positive.

The Institute for Supply Management's services index rose to 59.6 in August, the highest reading since its inception in January 2008, from 58.7 in July.

ADP reported that private-sector payrolls increased by 204,000 last month after rising by 212,000 in July. The increase in August was the fifth straight month of gains above 200,000.

The trade deficit narrowed in July after exports rose 0.9 percent to a record high while imports rose 0.7 percent.

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