April 10, 2019, by Lorcan Roche Kelly
The European Central Bank announces its latest policy decision at 7:45 a.m. Eastern Time this morning, followed by a press conference 45 minutes later with President Mario Draghi. While economists expect no change in interest rates, investors will listen carefully for any growth concerns expressed by policy makers. Hopes have faded recently that the bank will announce imminent measures to help the region’s lenders navigate negative interest rates. The ECB is not the only show in town for monetary wonks today, with the minutes of the March Fed meeting due at 2:00 p.m.
Economists are expecting the pace of price rises to have quickened in March to 0.4 percent from a month earlier, with core inflation at 0.2 percent. The annual rate is forecast to increase to 1.8 percent when the data is published at 8:30 a.m. The print arriving on the same day as the Fed minutes will give bond investors a lot to chew over with some suggesting that the current lowflation environment may not last as long as markets currently predict.
The EU may offer the U.K. a Brexit delay of up to 12 months at today’s summit in Brussels, with leaders set to debate whether to extend the arrangement to the end of this year or March 2020. Either way on this trajectory, the U.K. would have to hold European elections next month, a source of consternation among Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party MPs — and likely to add more pressure on her to resign. The pound remains firmly unmoved by the lack of Brexit clarity.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.2 percent while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.7 percent lower, the day after the country’s stock market was overtaken by Hong Kong as the world’s third largest. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.2 percent higher at 5:50 a.m. as investors awaited today’s monetary developments. S&P 500 futures pointed to a gain at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 2.497 percent and gold was slightly higher.
JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s David Solomon are among U.S. bank CEOs set to face a grilling in front of the House Financial Services Committee from 9 a.m. this morning. They are likely to be questioned on pay, profit and regulation during the session in which Democrats are expected to go on the attack on the industry’s track record a decade after the financial crisis.