Draghi shakes things up

European Central Bank President Draghi shook things up overnight providing a major backstop for risk assets. Draghi effectively noted that the ECB “is going to do whatever is necessary to preserve the EUR”. The aggressiveness of his comments left no doubt that the ECB chief means business.

Whether this translates into renewed bond buying by the central bank is debatable but this is what the market is now hoping for at next week’s ECB policy meeting. Anything less would provoke disappointment.

At the least Draghi has helped to put a floor under the EUR ahead of the policy meeting. After dropping to a low around 1.2117 the currency bounced sharply but its gains were exhibited mainly against the USD rather than on the crosses. Further short covering could see EUR/USD move up to around the 1.2350 resistance level but much further gains are expected to be limited.

The biggest beneficiaries of Draghi’s comments were equity volatility which dropped sharply and Spanish stocks, which rallied by over 6% yesterday. Gold also rallied in the hope of central bank action next week. In terms of Asian currencies, those most sensitive to risk gyrations including KRW, MYR, INR and IDR will be the biggest beneficiaries.

Attention today will turn to data releases including July German inflation data and Q2 US GDP. A weak US GDP may put a bit of a dampener on sentiment especially as it will highlight the sharp slowing in growth over the quarter.

Nonetheless, markets are likely to move into consolidation mode ahead of next week’s ECB and Fed meetings, with risk assets generally supported by expectations / hopes of policy actions by both or either central bank. One index which remains on a downward trajectory is the Baltic Dry Index, which dropped further overnight, highlighting the growing risks to the global economy.

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