MPC Minutes Send GBP sharply lower; All Eyes on FOMC
Now you know why our London morning IMT was titled "Sterling Fears Upcoming BoE Minutes". Indeed, the minutes did show one less hawk (see below). USD holding steady. Euro zone industrial orders disappointed. Critically important FOMC statement is later on today.
GBP was under pressure since London traders got to their desks. After the MPC meeting minutes were released, the Sterling dropped sharply. Vote was 7-2 from previous 6-3 (7 members voted for holding rates steady and 2 for rate increase). The minutes revealed a discussion about the possibility of QE extension should downside risk materialize and Adam Posen voted for GBP 50 bln increase in Asset Purchase Facility to GBP 250 bln. Recent QE comments and overall dovish stance would indicate that BoE will not be raising rates in the near future.
Other news from this morning include Swiss ZEW Economic Expectation index for June that dropped to -24.3 from previous -11.5 and Euro zone April Industrial Orders that increased to 0.7% from previous -1.5% but still came short of 1.1% expected.
The New York session will be all about FOMC. The rate decision and statement are both due at 12:30 pm ET and the press conference will start at 2:15 pm ET. The fed funds rate will stay between 0 and 0.25% and the highlight of the day will be the press conference. Traders can expect a significant volatility around these times.
The Fed will acknowledge slowing of the economy and deteriorating fundamentals. The job market has worsened with unemployment ticking back up, yet consumer inflation has been increasing steadily since November 2010. However, at this point additional round of QE is not probable. The Fed is likely to keep the main interest rate unchanged for extended period and to continue to reinvest maturing securities as not to shrink its balance sheet.
If there are no hints of QE3, equity markets will be disappointed and risk aversion will increase as there will not be any expectation of an additional liquidity injections to the financial markets. Falling equities and other types of riskier assets combined with ongoing uncertainty in Euro zone should support the USD over the near term. Should QE3 be hinted, that would be a different case entirely
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