Euro falls again as ECB meets today

The euro weakened after reports showing inflation in the eurozone fell short of analyst estimates and US hiring jumped, kicking off three days of economic events likely to set the course for global markets into 2016.

Euro falls again as ECB meets today

Crude declined before the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries sets output targets tomorrow.

The euro approached its weakest level since April as the consumer-price data boosted the argument for extra monetary stimulus when the European Central Bank meets today.

Traders are focused on the prospect of further divergence in global monetary policy amid speculation the ECB will expand stimulus just as the US Federal Reserve moves closer to liftoff.

The Fed chair Janet Yellen has been at pains to emphasise the Fed’s gradual approach to normalising interest rates.

Opec nations are also gathering in Vienna this week and while Saudi Arabia, its biggest producer, has pledged to listen to other members, the group has shown few signs of trimming output even as prices tumble.

“The ECB have clearly signalled they are not willing to tolerate further downside surprises to their inflation outlook going forward,” said Lee Hardman, a currency strategist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

“Today’s report solidifies expectations they will be easing policy aggressively.”

The euro dropped 0.4% to $1.0586 at one stage yesterday.

Eurozone consumer price growth was unchanged at 0.1% in November, missing analyst forecasts for a 0.2% increase.

With ECB president Mario Draghi pledging to do what it takes to reignite inflation in the eurozone, analysts are predicting a further reduction in the area’s deposit rate today, and some also see an expansion of the bank’s asset-purchase programme.

Companies in the US added 217,000 workers to payrolls in November after a 196,000 increase a month earlier, figures from the ADP showed , exceeding analyst estimates. The report will be watched as a possible indicator of non-farm payrolls data due tomorrow.

The euro has weakened more than 12% against the dollar this year as the ECB implemented quantitative easing to stimulate the economy, while the Fed moved closer to raising interest rates for the first time since 2006.

It touched $1.0558 on November 30, the weakest level since April 14.

Eurozone bonds rose after the inflation data, with yields on Spanish and Finnish debt among those falling to records.

Spain’s two-year note yield dropped as low as minus 0.05%, while Finland’s touched minus 0.39%.

The yield on 10-year German bunds, Europe’s benchmark sovereign securities, was steady at 0.47%.

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