European Central Bank expected to tread carefully amid mounting global insecurities

  • The European Central Bank (ECB) is expected to be cautious to prevent any unwanted tightening of financing conditions.
  • The threat of a trade war triggered by President Donald Trump has spooked investors and business leaders alike.
  • With Draghi likely to display a dovish tone again, there might be growing disagreement in the Governing Council.

Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank (ECB), is unlikely to give too much away at his press conference this week amid a surge in economic uncertainty.

The Italian economist will speak once again following the ECB Governing Council's rate decision on Thursday, with the bank expected to be cautious to prevent any unwanted tightening of financing conditions. This means Draghi won't reveal much on any potential end to the ECB's massive bond-buying scheme, brought in after the euro zone sovereign debt crises to boost lending and stoke inflation.

The threat of a trade war triggered by President Donald Trump — with the U.S. set to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum — has spooked investors and business leaders alike. Meanwhile, the rise of populism in Italy has done little to calm their nerves.

The euro zone's central bank will also publish new staff projections Thursday, but given the still subdued inflation data, no major shift upwards in their inflation forecasts are expected, despite a blossoming economy.

"Still, helped by stronger wage growth in Germany, the June meeting should set in motion the final push to end QE (quantitative easing) this year," said Anatoli Annenkov, ECB watcher with Societe Generale, said in a research note.

"The new staff forecast (this Thursday) could point to slightly higher growth and inflation this year but unchanged core inflation."

With Draghi likely to display a dovish tone again, there might be growing disagreement in the Governing Council as the hawks — like Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann — believe it is high time to stop this asset purchase program.

Nonetheless, there are some analysts that predict the ECB could change the language of its forward guidance slightly on Thursday. Carsten Brzeski, the chief economist for Germany and Austria at ING Diba, believes that a sentence that alluded to the bank's readiness to increase QE in "size and /or duration" could be dropped. Instead, he said they could replace it with a line saying that it was prepared to "use all tools available."

"(This) would be a mild form of dropping the QE easing bias," he said in a note. "This should for now satisfy the growing dissent among the ECB hawks within the in-house bird fight."