Why the ECB’s rate decision has one analyst singing Simon and Garfunkel

Harriet Green
Follow Harriet

We’ve got the European Central Bank’s interest rate decision being announced at 12.45, and for Kit Juckes of Societe Generale, Simon and Garfunkel’s 1968 song The Boxer gives a neat summation of what we will - or won’t - hear this afternoon.

I can only apologise for the Paul Simon thing this morning, which is stuck in my head. What the ECB is likely to offer us today is a pocketful of mumbles (promises, all lies and jests). And we, of course, will hear what we want to hear and disregard the rest.

While bulls may disregard any decision taken by the bank, Euro bears will hear too little, says Juckes.

If it decides to take any decision today, it’ll likely see the end of the sterilisation of securities markets programme purchases, says Juckes - though this backdoor loosening doesn’t strike him as a game changer.

He adds that he “can’t really see” what the central lender can do from here to boost credit and, therefore, money supply.

Slowing the de-leveraging of the financial system would help more than cutting rates and the even the effects of ECB QE would be diluted because Fed QE has already sent global asset prices up, volatility and credit spreads down.

EUR/USD is near the top of its range, and will head lower once US rates start to move up, but the ECB may boost risk appetite, hardly a difficult task during the current hiatus in the Ukrainian crisis.

While consensus is that the bank will leave things as it is, Ishaq Siddiqi of ETX Capital says a rate cut of 0.1 per cent can be expected, along with a reduction in the desposit rate, too.

Draghi will no doubt be asked questions about the low-gear euro area recovery, deflation, further stimulus measures and the crisis in Ukraine, says Siddiqi.

The ECB's also issuing its 2016 forecasts for the euro area this afternoon.