HSBC foresees a 'hawkish hold' from the European Central Bank (ECB) in the upcoming policy meeting, indicating a firm stance on current policies while preparing the market for potential tightening. Despite this, the euro faces various headwinds, making its near-term outlook challenging.
Hawkish Hold on Monetary Policy: The ECB is expected to maintain its current policy rate, deemed sufficient by both policy doves and hawks to guide inflation back to the desired target. However, a common sentiment among the hawks is the readiness for further policy tightening should inflation unexpectedly surge. The ECB emphasizes that clear trends in wage growth, crucial for policy decisions, won't be discernible until at least Q1 2024, signaling an extended period of a hawkish hold.
Challenges for the Euro: The eurozone faces a precarious growth-inflation dynamic, complicating monetary policy, particularly when contrasted with the U.S. situation. The impending Eurozone flash PMIs are projected to confirm ongoing economic contraction, juxtaposed with inflation figures significantly surpassing targets. These economic indicators highlight the challenges faced by the ECB in balancing growth stimulation and inflation control.
Additional ECB Concerns: The ECB's upcoming meeting is also expected to shed light on its strategies for managing its balance sheet, amid renewed market attention on the growing yield spreads between Italian bonds and their German counterparts. This situation underscores the complex economic and fiscal environment in the Eurozone, posing additional challenges for the common currency.
Conclusion: HSBC predicts a 'hawkish hold' stance from the ECB in the immediate term, reflecting a cautious yet firm approach to monetary policy amid complex economic conditions. However, despite this hawkish tilt, the EUR may continue facing downward pressures due to multiple challenges, including sluggish growth, persistent inflationary pressures, and concerns over fiscal stability within member economies. The bank's communication will be pivotal in providing insights into how it plans to navigate these multifaceted challenges moving forward.