Expert Zone

Straight from the Specialists

Currencies and the collapse of globalisation

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

We live in stirring times. The president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, crossed the monetary policy Rubicon and cut one of the euro area’s key interest rates into negative territory. This is dramatic stuff, as even the most economically oblivious are likely to recognise that negative interest rates are a radical policy.A picture illustration of Euro banknotes and coins taken in central Bosnian town of Zenica

At the same time, the United States Federal Reserve is gracefully gliding out of its quantitative policy position – and by October that money printing process is likely to be effectively at an end. The question from most investors is therefore “what next for U.S. monetary policy?”.

The answer is likely to be an increase in U.S. interest rates, and those increases may start earlier and take place faster than many investors currently assume. The Bank of England has been even more explicit in signalling a desire to tighten interest rates sooner than financial investors had expected.

Euro area monetary policy and Anglo-Saxon monetary policy are taking different directions – radically so. It has been a decade since the Federal Reserve last embarked on a tightening cycle, and euro area rates have never gone negative before. The bias in discussions is whether the Fed and the ECB both do more than is currently expected; the difference is that “more” for the Fed means “more tightening”, while “more” for the ECB means “more policy accommodation”. With the expectations and the reality of the direction of interest rates diverging in this manner the instinct of most in financial markets is to assume that the euro will weaken against the dollar.

India Markets Weekahead: Results of state elections a key driver

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

Markets had been on a roller-coaster ride but closed weak for the third week in the row with the Nifty in the 5950-6000 range providing support.

A hint from the U.S. Federal Reserve on tapering its bond-buying programme was enough to spook the markets. Though this is expected in the first quarter of the new year, it remains to be seen whether chairman-elect Janet Yellen’s dovish stance would postpone it further.

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