Afternoon analysis 16.01.2015:
Hike in risk aversion pressured the zloty after the SNB decision. The euro dropped to its lowest in 11-years. The Greek problems extended in the frank shadow.
Today's reports on inflation in the euro zone revealed that the risk of deeper price level decrease is significant. Although the headline inflation reading was in line with expectations (minus 0.2 percent on a yearly basis), the core inflation figures were smaller than first estimate (0.7 percent against 0.8 percent).
This was another argument for the European Central Bank to pursue its plan to introduce a full blown quantitative easing in the euro zone. The key decisions are to be made on Thursday, 22 January.
In the meantime, inflation data in the United States was lower than projected. It dropped 0.4 percent from the previous month – the most decline in six years. It was due exceptionally low energy prices – as in other countries. However, data on a yearly basis are quite stable – therefore it didn't affect the outlook for the Federal Reserve plant to increase interest rates within six months.
The frank turmoil veiled the swelling Greek problems – the country faces currently mounting tensions in banking system as people withdraw money before elections. The voting scheduled on 25 January may give the power to left wing Syriza party, that poses a threat to austerity plan and may once again invoke the specter of the euro zone dismantle.
As a result, Greeks pulled around 4 billion euro form banking system in recent time, what pushed few banks to ask the central bank for help.
Given current risky environment, the EUR/USD dropped to as low as 1.1516 – the lowest level in 11 years. All recent events – the inflation reports, SNB case and Greek turmoil – are negative factors for the euro.
The ECB holds its crucial meeting on Thursday next week. It will decide on launching purchases of government bonds, event if it pushes the euro lower. The European monetary authorities will not risk to surprise market by not doing anything as it would only increase risk aversion and volatility in the market.
Volatility pressured the zloty
On Wednesday the Monetary Policy Council will hold a press conference after the decision on the interest rates. The MPC held the cost of credit unchanged – as expected. It also presented a somewhat hawkish view on current situation by saying that zloty's volatility doesn't favor rates cut and the deflation is not as negative as one could think (it stems from low energy prices, not from crisis situation).
As a result, the zloty was strengthened after the press conference outcomes. However, on Thursday, the Polish currency was severely hit but the SNB decision to drop floor in the EUR/CHF market. This decision created a new reality, that needs to be addressed in new way.
The increased volatility regime is not favorable for the zloty. The Polish currency dropped to its lowest level in many years against the pound, the dollar and the frank. The zloty weakened also against the euro, but this move was clearly smaller.
Given current circumstances, there is little hope for a stronger zloty in the short term. In the longer period the Polish currency may gain slightly, but it will depend on the overall market reaction after the EBC decisions next week. If the broad market is disappointed, the hope for zloty's gains will vanish.
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