Ahead of Thursday’s meeting of the European Central Bank futures markets have started to raise the odds that the bank will start raising its benchmark deposit interest rate beginning in April 2018. The market was putting the odds of an April increase at 20% last month. Those odds have now climbed to 40%, according to Bloomberg.
What goes into that change in thinking? Higher inflation–in Germany anyway. Core inflation in the EuroZone remains at just 0.9%, but in January headline inflation, which unlike the core number includes energy prices, hit 2% for the first time in four years. The bank’s target for inflation is 2%. Decent economic growth of 1.9% in 2016. And the end of policy promises by the European Central Bank to keep buying bonds, although at a rate of 60 billion euros instead of the earlier 80 billion, through December 2017.
Thursday’s meeting of the European Central Bank comes with a press conference from bank president Mario Draghi. Economists and investors will be looking to see if Draghi tweaks his language at all. (Nobody expects him to announce a change in policy this early.) The key tweak would be a change in the bank’s forward guidance that called macro risks balanced instead of the characterizing risks as weighted to the downside.
The euro is down slightly today against the dollar at $1.0572.