‘Super Mario’, the European Central Bank’s monetary magician, disappointed markets yesterday as continuing and unprecedented monetary easing failed to prevent a sharp sell-off in stock and bond markets which has continued today.
ECB President – nicknamed ‘Super Mario’
There are sharp losses on financial markets after the ECBs President’s – nicknamed ‘Super Mario’ and more recently ‘Magic Mario’ – latest radical measures stopped well short of market expectations and traders desperation for more cheap money and deepening ultra loose monetary policies.
Draghi announced a deepening of probably the most radical monetary policies of any major central bank in history.
The ECB will extend its massive 60 billion euro ($63.5 billion) a month money printing, or debt monetisation, scheme to at least March 2017, an additional six months. Debt monetisation will now include both regional and local government debt and be reinvested upon maturity.
The ECB cut its deposit rate to a historic low and further into negative territory by 10 basis points to a fresh low of negative -0.3 percent, down from -0.2 percent. The cut means banks in effect must pay more for the ECB to hold their money. The ECB kept its main refinancing rate (or the price that banks pay to borrow funds from the ECB) unchanged at an unprecedented, essentially 0 percent – exactly 0.05 percent.
While stocks and bonds fell, gold rose and the euro surged 3% against the dollar. Disappointment rattled stock markets on both sides of the Atlantic, with many European indices suffering their worst day since the chaotic August 24 rout. The benchmark S&P 500 fell into negative territory for the year again.
Gold bullion prices rose 0.8% in dollar terms – the biggest one day rise in two weeks – after the ECB announcement. Although gold is being oversold it was due a bounce. Gold in euro terms fell 2.3% and is now marginally lower for the year to date – down 0.7% year to date to €978 per ounce – see table.