ECB 'playing tricks' on markets

Mario Draghi.
Mario Draghi.
The European Central Bank cut its interest rates by 0.1% and confirmed the start of an asset-buying programme similar to that seen by the Federal Reserve in the depths of the recession.

While the Fed is now ending its quantitative easing programme as the US economy recovers, the ECB is embarking on a programme to try to stimulate lending growth.

The euro fell sharply in response, as did the US and German bond yields, although those rebounded later.

''ECB chief Mario Draghi showed he is not above playing tricks, which is as it should be given the magician he is,'' Westpac currency strategist Imre Speizer said.

In June, Mr Draghi said interest rates had reached the lower bound, for all practical circumstances - excluding some technical adjustments.

In September, June's 0.1% cut was repeated, in what Mr Draghi described as a ''technical adjustment''.

The official interest rate was now 0.05% and the deposit rate was -0.2%, meaning it costs banks to not lend money.

''Job well done. 'Rates are now at the lower bound and this time I am serious', he essentially said,'' Mr Speizer said.

The ECB would purchase a broad portfolio of asset backed securities from next month.

The New Zealand Reserve Bank makes its official cash rate next week and is widely expected to keep its rate at 3.5%.

Craigs Investment Partners broker Chris Timms said the ECB was trying to stimulate its economy while the Reserve Bank was trying to cool down the economy of New Zealand.

The geopolitical situation in the Middle East and the Ukraine, had kept the New Zealand dollar falling slightly against the US, Australian and United Kingdom currencies.

But, eventually, the interest rate differential between New Zealand and other Western nations would see people buying in New Zealand because of higher interest rates.

The election campaign in New Zealand was also helping keep the dollar lower because of the uncertainty around the result.

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