The European Central Bank (ECB) recently raised interest rates, causing a decline in the euro and German government bond yields. However, while borrowing costs were expected to increase, the ECB’s move suggests a more cautious approach to tightening policy.
ECB Raises Deposit Rate to All-Time High
The ECB increased its deposit rate by 25 basis points to a record high of 4% in an effort to control inflation. The central bank predicts that inflation will average 5.6% in 2023, well above its target of 2%.
Concerns about Weak Economic Activity
Despite the rate hike, the ECB expressed concern about weak economic activity in some parts of the Eurozone, particularly in Germany. As a result, the central bank indicated that it would adopt a more careful approach to further tightening policy.
Analysts View the Move as a “Dovish Hike”
Analysts interpreted the rate hike as a “dovish hike,” indicating that the ECB may not pursue further increases in interest rates. With business surveys suggesting an impending slowdown in growth, experts at J.P. Morgan Asset Management believe that the ECB’s hiking cycle may be coming to an end.
Following the announcement, the euro (EURUSD, -0.45%) experienced a 0.6% decline, trading at $1.0664. Additionally, the yield on the 10-year German bond (BX:TMBMKDE-10Y) dropped by 4.4 basis points to 2.611%.
Traders eagerly await ECB President Christine Lagarde’s press conference, scheduled to begin at 2:45 p.m. local time (8:45 a.m. Eastern), for further insights.
London’s FTSE 100 Leads Stock Market Gains
In other news, London’s FTSE 100 (UK:UKX) outperformed other regional stock markets, showing a 0.9% increase. This growth was primarily driven by the strong performance of resource groups benefitting from higher prices for industrial commodities.
Energy Giants Continue to Rise as Brent Crude Hits 8-Month High
Energy giants BP and Shell saw strong gains as Brent crude rose above $93 a barrel, reaching its highest level since November. The rise in prices comes as traders factor in extended production cuts by Saudi Arabia and Russia. Additionally, hopes for stronger demand from China further supported oil prices after the People’s Bank of China implemented its second cut this year to the reserve requirement ratio for most banks.
Positive Outlook for Metal Demand Lifts Copper Prices and Mining Companies
The loosening of monetary policy by Beijing not only boosted hopes for oil demand but also had a positive impact on metal demand. This led to an increase in copper prices and encouraged rallies of around 5% for mining giants like Anglo American, Rio Tinto, and BHP.
THG Faces Major Challenges and Investors’ Confidence Plummets
Unfortunately, London-listed THG had a rough day in the market. The beauty and lifestyle ecommerce group experienced a substantial downturn of 20% after revealing a £100 million ($125 million) operating loss for the first half of the year. The significant loss was attributed to higher costs and trimmed sales forecasts. As a result, investor confidence in THG has plummeted, with the company struggling to establish itself as a credible business.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, commented on THG’s situation, saying, “Another period of operating losses and with more moving parts than a Swiss watch, it’s no wonder that investors struggle to get their head around exactly what this company is trying to do. The word ‘adjusted’ is used 118 times in the half-year results, which says it all.”
Germany’s DAX Index Underperforms Due to Concerns Over Auto Manufacturers
Germany’s DAX index saw minimal gains of just 0.1%, primarily due to concerns surrounding automakers such as Volkswagen, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. These companies faced uncertainty as Beijing pushed back against the European Union’s decision to investigate subsidies provided to China’s electric vehicle manufacturers.