Armed with better-than-expected data to start the third quarter, ECB President Trichet was marginally more confident in his press conference following the ECB's decision to keep interest rates at 1%. That rate was appropriate, meaning officials do not see a need to raise rates soon.
The Euro has weathered a deep crisis this year, and has rebounded 10% since hitting a 4-year low near 1.19. European equity markets have gained 11% in the past month, and manufacturing and services data has showed that the Euro-zone economy may be building momentum to start the 3rd quarter. With bank stress tests out of the way, and fears of a sovereign debt crisis easing, the ECB can pat itself on the back for averting a worst case scenario.
The question now is what the next steps will be for the ECB, as it is currently supplying unlimited cash to banks (in 3-month tenders), which needs to be removed. There was no comment today about those measures. Trichet did say that its non-standard economic stimulus measures were temporary. Those include enhanced credit support and the Securities Markets Program. The ECB is likely to continue assessing the data, and may give more information on winding down some of these measures in its meeting next month. Adding to the sense of optimism around sovereign debt, the EU and IMF said Greece's economic program made a strong start and key reforms are ahead of schedule. That announcement came after officials completed their first review of the program, which is underpinned by 10 billion euros in loans from those bodies.
The Euro strengthened in today's trading, testings its highs from yesterdya's session near 1.3235, however it gave up some of those gains in early NY trading. US stocks opened weaker as a weekly jobless claims report showed claims up 19K to 479K, the most since April.