The euro has started the week with gains, after falling around 1.3% over the past two days. In the North American session, EUR/USD is trading at 1.0795, up o.19%. With US markets closed for the Labour Day holiday, we can expect an uneventful day from the euro.
Will she or won’t she?
ECB President Christine Lagarde has avoided giving a clear signal about the ECB rate decision on September 14th. At the Jackson Hole symposium, Lagarde said that rates would have to remain at “sufficiently restrictive levels for as long as necessary” in order to bring down inflation to the ECB’s 2% target. Eurozone inflation remained stuck at 5.3% in August, which is more than double the target.
Given that disparity, one could be forgiven for assuming that Lagarde would have followed up with a heavy hint about a rate hike in September. Instead, she steered clear of the rate debate. Fast forward to today, when Lagarde delivered a speech in London. The pattern was the same – a declaration that “we will achieve a timely return” to the 2% inflation target, but no mention of the September meeting.
The lack of direction from Lagarde could mean that the doves and hawks continue to push their agendas and Lagarde hasn’t decided which way to roll the dice. Inflation remains high, but the eurozone economy is not in the best shape, which means that further rate hikes could trigger a recession. On Monday, ECB Governing Council member Mario Centeno, the head of the Bank of Portugal, warned there was a risk of “doing too much” by continuing to raise rates.
The manufacturing sector in Germany and the eurozone remains mired in contraction, as last week’s PMIs indicated. The services sector has been in better shape with readings above 50.0, which indicates expansion. Still, Service PMIs have been weakening in recent months and are expected to fall into contraction territory in both Germany and the eurozone on Tuesday. The consensus for September stands at 47.3 in Germany and 48.3 in the eurozone, which would confirm the initial estimates last month. If investors show jitters over contraction in the services sector, the weak euro could lose ground.
- There is resistance at 1.0831 and 1.0889
- 1.0716 and 1.0658 are providing support
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