ECB, Fed Ready for Market Jolts as They Head on Opposite Policy Paths

The world’s top two central banks accept they will face periodic market jolts as they move in opposite policy directions, senior officials say, with such risks inevitable given the hugely differing fortunes of the U.S. and European economies.

The European Central Bank and U.S. Federal Reserve – which appear poised respectively to ease and tighten monetary policy – talk to each other regularly but do not coordinate policy or try to guess what the other may do next, the central bankers say.

The banks’ strategy is to factor in financial market moves that may result from their divergent paths without trying to counter them through monetary policy, they say.

The ECB surprised markets last month by raising the prospect of easing as soon as December. By contrast, with the U.S. economy in a buoyant state, the Fed delivered an unexpectedly hawkish message, boosting the chance that it will raise rates next month after keeping them near zero for almost seven years.

Together, these signals sent the euro EUR= down by more than 5 percent against the dollar in a matter of weeks, and this is unlikely to be last sharp market move as a number of leading central banks act.


Craig Erlam
Based in London, England, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a Market Analyst. With more than five years' experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while conducting macroeconomic commentary. He has been published by The Financial Times, Reuters, the BBC and The Telegraph, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on Bloomberg TV, CNBC, FOX Business and BNN. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and he is recognized as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.