The euro on Thursday fell to its lowest level versus the dollar in four months after the European Central Bank said its ultralow interest rates until after the end of the year — an extension from before — and said a new long-term refinancing program for eurozone banks was coming.
which had been little changed ahead of the policy decision, slipped to $1.1228, compared with $1.1309 late Wednesday, hitting its lowest level since early November, according to FactSet. The shared currency has fallen for four straight days now.
The ECB on Thursday announced it would launch a new round of targeted longer-term refinancing operations, or TLTROs, to eurozone banks. On the rate front, the central bank had previously said it would hold off on any rate hikes until some point after this summer.
The central bank also downgraded, as expected, its 2019 forecast for eurozone-area gross domestic product to 1.1% from 1.7%. The ECB now sees 2020 growth of 1.6% versus a previous forecast of 1.7%, while the outlook for 2021 was unchanged at 1.5%.
An extension of the TLTRO loan program could prove a positive for the euro, as it would theoretically stimulate lending in the eurozone and spur further growth, said Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX strategy at BK Asset Management, in a note prior to the policy decision.
During a subsequent news conference, ECB President Mario Draghi said the central bank saw the probability of a recession as “very low”, but also that the governing council was reliant on economic data, which is currently pointing down.
The “ECB delivered fireworks: a new series of TLTROs, basically acknowledging the slow growth in the eurozone,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at ThinkMarkets. “This announcement made traders go wild and this pushed the euro-dollar price lower.”
The U.S. dollar regained strength on the back of its major rival’s weakness. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index
was last up 0.5% at 97.388, it’s highest level since December.
In U.S. economic data, jobless claims for the week ended March 2 came in slightly lower than expected. Fourth-quarter productivity grew at a rate of 1.9%, while and unit labor costs increased 2%.
Other major currencies saw slightly more movement compared the buck and the euro. The British pound
slipped to $1.3099, versus $1.3169 late Wednesday.
The Japanese yen
eked out some strength against the greenback, with one dollar buying ¥111.55, down 0.2%.
gave back its earlier gains on Thursday, following its decline in the previous session after the Bank of Canada delivered a dovish policy update. One U.S. dollar last bought C$1.3436, little changed
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