Draghi comments fail to convince euro bulls


The European single currency was lower against the U.S. dollar Monday following remarks over the weekend from European Central Bank (ECB) officials that measures could be introduced to help the euro zone's exporters – and push up inflation. But, in spite of the drop, investors remain unconvinced the currency will continue to trend lower in the coming months.

The euro opened Monday's session lower at $1.3834 after trading above $1.39 on Friday. By 11 a.m. London time the euro had depreciated to $1.3821, a fall of 0.6 percent versus Friday's high. It also saw similar depreciations against sterling and the Japanese yen.

Sean Callow, a senior currency strategist at Westpac, told CNBC Monday that the currency seems to have found a ceiling near $1.40, indicating that he would be inclined to sell any time it hits between $1.39 and $1.40 and look to buy at $1.35 over the next few weeks.

Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB).
Melmet Kaman | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

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"It's holding up better than we expected. You've got to give it credit that it is defying a lot of pessimists out there," he said, but expected upcoming U.S. economic figures to support the dollar and create more interest to sell the euro.

Speaking in Washington DC during the meetings of the International Monetary Fund, ECB President Mario Draghi, said that he would look to ease policy further if the strength in the euro persists. This message was reiterated the day after by ECB executive board member Benoit Coeure who added that the central bank is ready to make asset purchases if the current period of low inflation continues.

The strong euro has pressured consumer prices on the continent with a stronger euro making imports cheaper. The euro bloc has posted weak inflation data in recent months, showing a continuing decline in price growth.

The central bank has remained accommodative in the six years since the global financial crash but has refrained by U.S.-style quantitative easing (QE) which could be used to stoke inflation and stimulate the economy. Draghi has previously stated that capital markets in Europe were very different than the U.S. and QE would be a harder tool to use. However, ECB policymakers have signaled recently that it might finally be ready to use these asset purchases and choose to buy a mix of government and private assets.

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With the anticipation of more liquidity sloshing around the economy, the euro sold off accordingly. Marshall Gittler, the head of global FX strategy at IronFX believes Draghi's comments at the weekend should be the key for a weaker euro going forward. This should be aided, he said, by the clear divergence between the U.S. Federal Reserve and the ECB, with the former continuing to dial back on its bond-buying program.

The latest data from Morgan Stanley's FX positioning tracker shows currency traders are currently neutral for a second week running on the euro, with no definite long or short positions. Derek Halpenny, the European head of global markets research at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, has an opposing view from Gittler's. He argues that the ECB has done all it can with communication and that it is very unlikely that the euro will move much lower on comments alone from President Draghi.

He added that Ukraine tensions meant that the euro could become something of a safe haven over the U.S. dollar. He said Russians could look to park funds in the euro rather than the dollar as the U.S. has a "freer hand" in implementing tough sanctions against Russia.

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