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A money changer counts Euro banknotes at a currency exchange office in Nice, France November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
June 15, 2018
By Shinichi Saoshiro
TOKYO (Reuters) – The euro was headed on Friday for its worst weekly loss in 19 months after a cautious European Central Bank signaled it will keep interest rates at record lows well into next year.
Following a closely-watched meeting on Thursday, the ECB said it will end its massive bond purchase scheme by the end of this year, taking its biggest step yet toward dismantling crisis-era stimulus.
The euro briefly spiked to a one-month high of $1.1853 <EUR=> following the announcement.
But euro bulls were soon in retreat as the ECB also indicated that it would keep interest rates steady at least through the summer of 2019, reflecting the uncertainties hanging over the euro zone economy.
The single currency slumped nearly 1.9 percent on Thursday, its largest one-day fall since Britain’s Brexit vote shock of June 2016.
It stretched overnight losses to brush $1.1560, lowest since May 30. The currency was down 1.7 percent on the week, its worst weekly loss since November 2016.
“The euro showed such a big reaction to the ECB meeting as its stance came in sharp contrast to the Federal Reserve, which had struck a hawkish tone just the day before,” said Junichi Ishikawa, senior forex strategist at IG Securities in Tokyo.
The Fed on Wednesday raised interest rates for the second time this year and indicated that it could tighten policy two more times in 2018.
“Instead of reacting immediately to the Fed, many in the market had opted to first see out the ECB meeting, considered the main event of the week. And they duly reacted,” Ishikawa said.
The euro was a shade lower at 127.900 yen <EURJPY=> after dropping 1.7 percent overnight.
The dollar was little changed at 110.620 yen <JPY=> after rising 0.25 percent the previous day.
The greenback was up 1 percent versus its Japanese peer on the week, during which it brushed a three-week peak of 110.850 after the Fed’s policy announcement on Wednesday.
Few expected surprises from the Bank of Japan, which on Friday ends a two-day policy meeting at which it is widely expected to stand pat and maintain its massive easing scheme as the economy skirts with recession.
Against a broadly stronger dollar, the Australian dollar slipped 0.17 percent to a one-month trough of $0.7462 <AUD=D4>.
The dollar index gained about 0.2 percent to a two-week high of 94.973 <.DXY>, after rallying more than 1 percent on Thursday.
(Editing by Kim Coghill)