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It's ECB day. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.
ECB decision day
At 7:45 a.m. ET the European Central Bank will announce its latest rate decision, with all but one of the economists surveyed by Bloomberg expecting the bank to cut the deposit rate by at least 10 basis points. At 8:30 a.m. Mario Draghi will begin his press conference where he is expected to announce an expansion of the asset-purchase program the ECB began a year ago. The euro currency is weakening ahead of the announcement, cementing its position as the world's worst-performing major currency over the past month. Analysis shows that Draghi has room to surprise the market which, fearing a repeat of December's disappointment, has refrained from taking large short positions on the euro.
Bank of New Zealand
One central banker who has already surprised the market is the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Governor Graeme Wheeler who unexpectedly cut interest rates by 25 basis points to a record low 2.25 percent. The New Zealand dollar plunged more than 2 percent against the U.S. dollar, which left economists complaining about the central bank's u-turn as Wheeler had flagged that there would be no policy change as recently as Feb. 3.
China's consumer prices rose 2.3 percent in February from a year earlier, the most since mid-2014, with food prices surging 7.3 percent amid the week-long Lunar New Year holidays. The producer-price index fell 4.9 percent, extending its decline to a record 48 months. The top-ranked fixed-income analysts in China, a research team at Haitong Securities Co., have warned that rising inflation and sluggish growth in the economy are raising the chances of stagflation and increasing the risks to Chinese bonds. The Shanghai Composite Index closed 2 percent lower, adding to Wednesday's 1.3 percent drop amid the suspected absence of state fund buying.
Hillary Clinton's difficult week in her push for the Democratic nomination hit another stumbling block at the debate in Florida last night where she missed her chance to put her campaign back on track under aggressive questioning from moderators. While she is still by far the leading candidate, the nomination is not wrapped up yet. The next round of Democratic primaries are on March 15 with five states, including Florida, voting.
In the U.S. today the Department of Labor will release initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET, with the median expectation from economists surveyed by Bloomberg for 275,000, a slight decline from last week's 278,000. The number will be released at the same time as Mario Draghi begins his speech at the ECB, so a surprise could add some extra volatility to already jumpy markets.
What we've been reading
This is what's caught our eye over the last 24 hours.
- How ETFs work.
- Lula dealt blow as Brazil prosecutors charge him over assets.
- Win big in Chinese equities by staying in bed for the morning.
- John Gutfreund, Salomon's leader in 1980's dies at 86.
- Too many boats, too little cargo leaves shippers high and dry.
- An answers to electric cars' lack of range: Electric roads.
- Most stock pickers failed to beat index last year, S&P says.
- Ben Bernanke has a solution to China's impossible trinity.