IMPORTANT NOTICE :
NEVER trust wiring or ACH instructions sent via email. ALWAYS confirm with the sender by phone or in-person. Cyber criminals are hacking email accounts and sending emails with fake wiring instructions. These emails are convincing, sophisticated, and often appear to come from someone you know or work with. Always independently confirm wiring or ACH instructions in-person or via a telephone call to a trusted and verified phone number. NEVER wire or ACH money without double-checking that the wiring or ACH instructions are correct.
The Weekly Economic & Market Recap
December 14, 2018
In March of 2015 the ECB embarked on a quantitative easing program to fight off the threat of deflation. The goal of quantitative easing was to push down market interest rates to encourage economic activity and reignite inflation. Since 2015, the ECB’s balance sheet has grown by 2.6 trillion euros and currently stands at 4.7 trillion euros, which equals roughly 40% of European GDP. The ECB announced that it will end its bond buying program at the end of December, however, the size of the balance sheet will not change as maturing debt will be reinvested and bond purchases can be reinitiated in the future if necessary. The announcement was not a complete surprise as Mario Draghi has been prepping the market, but the decision comes at a tenuous time as GDP growth in Europe is expected to decelerate from 1.9% this year to 1.7%in 2019. Moreover, the Markit Eurozone Purchasing Managers Composite Index which started the year at 58.1 (any measure above 50 signifies expansion) has steadily declined to 51.3 in December. Also, headline inflation is expected to slow from 1.8% in 2018 to 1.6% next year. At the current juncture the ECB expects to keep borrowing rates extremely low until at least September of 2019, but given the slowing economic momentum it would be very surprising to see the ECB raise rates in 2019. With risks perhaps shifting to the downside in Europe and increased market volatility, the normalization of interest rates may prove to be extraordinarily difficult. Furthermore, if the ECB is unable to raise rates meaningfully it will lose a key tool for combating the next recession.
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