Итак, грамотный pre-view от одного чела:
What could the ECB do today? Last month, ECB President Draghi set out the two conditions that could induce the ECB to act: a worsening of the medium-term outlook for inflation and an unwarranted tightening of the short-term money markets. Since then, Eurozone inflation has indeed fallen and money market rates have indeed risen, with EONIA rising above the main refinancing rate in mid-January.
* I don't think either has gone far enough to get them to take any action yet. The fall in inflation is mostly accounted for by falling energy prices, which won't be affected by EU monetary policy. Furthermore, the improvement in the Eurozone PMIs suggest that the ECB's scenario of a gradually improving economy and rising inflation is still possible. Moreover, Draghi didn't say they would take action if inflation fell further, he said they would take action if the medium-term outlook for inflation worsened. That suggests they are likely to wait at least until after the results of the ECB's survey of professional forecasters is published on Feb. 13th to see whether inflation expectations are falling, and more likely until next month, when the new staff projections will be announced. As for the rise in money market rates, that probably hasn't been severe enough to warrant action, in my view.
* Nonetheless, it's worth considering what they could do when they meet this afternoon, because they could be more concerned than I think.
* As always, they could cut the key refi rate further, from the current 0.25% to 0.15% or 0.10%. This would obviously be of more symbolic importance than economic importance. They could even go further and cut the deposit rate, currently at zero, to negative. That would probably have a big impact on the euro, not only because of its effect but also because of what it would imply about how difficult the situation is. That's also why I think there is little chance of them taking such a serious step now, because it would take away one of their more dramatic tools that they would probably want to keep in reserve.
* More likely, the ECB could decide to inject more liquidity into the money markets in order to ease the recent tensions. There are several ways they could do that. The simplest would be new longer-term refinancing operations. However, on the one hand banks don't want to look like they depend on ECB financing, while on the other hand, the ECB is reluctant to lend them cheap money that's just going to be used for carry trades in the bond market. They could lend the money with conditions, but that's hard to do as money is fungible.
* One idea that has been widely discussed is that they might stop draining the liquidity that they injected into the market when they bought bonds of the troubled peripheral countries. (They bought about EUR 200bn of bonds from 2010 to 2012, which injected that amount of money into the markets, but they drain the money from the market every week by taking it back as deposits.) This would inject a relatively small amount — something like EUR 180bn — into the markets, but it would have important symbolic significance as it would be tantamount to quantitative easing, and if they can do it once, they can do it again. Press reports say that they might do this if they could get the Bundesbank's blessing for it so as not to anger the German public. Finally, a third possibility is that they might reduce the required reserve ratio. If they cut it to 0.5% from 1.0% it would reportedly free up around EUR 50bn.
* Other ideas that have been mentioned include a new program to support lending to the private sector, such as creating a market for asset-backed securities; strengthening its forward guidance further; starting a quantitative easing program by buying private-sector assets instead of government bonds; or publishing minutes of its meetings. None of these seem likely at this point however as there has not been sufficient time to prepare.
* I think if they take any easing action, it is likely to send the euro lower. No action but a reaffirmation of their previous statement about policy being «symmetrical» is likely to send the euro a little bit lower. They are bound to get questions about the fall in inflation in January; if Draghi brushes this off again as a technical matter, as he did with the drop in German inflation in December, or reaffirms that the ECB thinks inflation will resume its upward trend, then EUR could rally. But if he appears concerned about the matter, then it's headed lower again.
Что я думаю: скорее всего, rate-cut не будет. 16-45 (когда будет объявлено решение) будет squeeze и евро дернут наверх в район 1.3560, вынесут по стопам тех кто сидит в шорте. Но через 45 минут, когда начнется конференция, на заявлениях драги евро, скорее всего, пойдет вниз. Я бы посоветовал — sell rallies в 16-45 и дальше держать шорт.