Euro continues to fall as investors bet on more ECB stimulus after Draghi comments

Markets across Asia Pacific were muted on Monday as Japanese markets were closed for a public holiday today. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was flat and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.5 per cent. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.4 per cent and the Shenzhen Composite was up 0.7 per cent.

There was little new for investors to digest and the main focus of the markets is monetary policy and the expectation of a rate hike in December by the Federal Reserve. Investors continue to weigh the outlook for global monetary policy. But while the Fed looks set to tighten monetary policy – and probably at a gradual pace – the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan are expected to step up stimulus to boost economic growth.

On Friday, ECB president Mario Draghi said the bank “will do what we must to raise inflation as quickly as possible.” That has investors betting on further stimulus from the ECB at its December 3 meeting, which could take the form of expanding the bank’s asset-purchase programme, or cutting bank deposit rates further into negative territory.

The euro continued to fall in Monday trading, down 0.4 per cent to a fresh seven-month low of $1.0607. The dollar index, a measure of the US currency versus a basket of global peers (but heavily weighted toward the single currency) was up 0.3 per cent to 99.883 this morning.

Asian currencies were weaker. The Taiwanese dollar was the best performer this morning, up 0.3 per cent as the unemployment rate held steady in October at 3.79 per cent, while India’s rupee was next-best and flat for the session.

The Australian dollar was the worst performing currency in the region, down 0.9 per cent, followed by the New Zealand dollar, down 0.8 per cent. Japan’s yen was down 0.3 per cent at Y123.15 per dollar.

Commodity prices continued to slide. Iron ore fell on Friday, approaching its lowest level since records for spot prices began in 2008, while copper fell to a fresh six-year low. Gold was down 0.6 per cent at $1,071.22 an ounce.

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