Friday, 9 March 2012

Central banks leave interest rates unchanged

Considering the fact that three major central banks concluded monetary policy meetings, Thursday turned out to be relatively uneventful for investors.

The Bank of England left interest rates at 0.5 percent and made no additional quantitative easing.

The Bank of Canada left interest rates at 1.0 percent while saying that the Canadian economic outlook was "marginally improved".

Investors, though, were mostly focused on the European Central Bank. The ECB left interest rates at 1.0 percent. ECB President Mario Draghi told a news conference that the eurozone economy is stabilising but is subject to downside risks. Meanwhile, inflation is likely to stay above 2 percent in 2012 with risk to the upside.

The ECB may not have provided additional support for financial markets but there was, nevertheless, good news from the euro area on Thursday with reports that private investors have agreed to swap about 85 percent of their Greek government bonds for new securities.

There was also good news on the data front in the euro area. Germany reported that industrial production rebounded 1.6 percent in January after having fallen 2.6 percent in December.

There was also good news from Japan from the Economy Watchers Survey. The current conditions index rose to 45.9 in February from 44.1 in January. The outlook index rose to 50.1 in February, the highest since April 2007, from 47.1 in January.

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