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ECB rate cut expectations rise amid economic slowdown concerns

Published Nov 22, 2023 18:38
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Market participants are increasingly anticipating the European Central Bank (ECB) to implement interest rate cuts in 2023 as signs of a slowing economy mount. The ECB, which has previously enacted significant rate hikes to combat inflation, is now facing pressure due to a weakening economic outlook and lower inflation rates.

Recent data and market movements suggest a shift in sentiment regarding the future direction of ECB policy. Today, traders projected an initial 75 basis-point reduction in ECB rates, adjusting earlier expectations of a 90 basis-point cut by the end of next year from the current high of 4%. This comes as the German short-term bond yield rose slightly to just below 3%, and the principal ten-year bond yield increased marginally to above 2.5%.

The Bank of England is also expected to lower rates following disappointing UK retail sales data released today. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the US Federal Reserve is projected to reduce its rates by 100 basis points in the upcoming year amid decreasing inflation and falling oil prices, which hint at potential recession risks.

Within the ECB, opinions differ on the timing of potential rate cuts. Yannis Stournaras believes that easing could be feasible in late 2024, while Joachim Nagel has argued against immediate reductions given that inflation remains at 2.9%. Nagel remains hopeful about avoiding a severe economic downturn. Despite ECB President Christine Lagarde's recent address in Frankfurt where she did not mention short-term rate cuts, market skepticism continues due to visible economic strains from earlier rate increases.

This skepticism is evident in declining German and Irish bond yields and the Stoxx 600 Index reaching a one-month high today. Additionally, Italy’s long-duration bond yield remains unchanged at over 4% but below its October peak, with the Italian-German ten-year bond spread narrowing slightly.

In other financial news, notes from a recent Federal Reserve meeting indicated a cautious approach to future interest rate adjustments. Markets are also bracing for the UK's upcoming fiscal policy announcement and U.S. job market data release. SEB's Jussi Hiljanen has observed that markets are entering a stabilization phase after experiencing significant volatility.

French decade-long bond yields have also seen an uptick, crossing the 3% threshold. With these developments, investors and policymakers alike are closely monitoring economic indicators and central bank communications for signs of how monetary policy will adapt to changing economic conditions.

This article was generated with the support of AI and reviewed by an editor. For more information see our T&C.

ECB rate cut expectations rise amid economic slowdown concerns
 

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