Market Overview

ECB Could Ease Further, If Needed

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The euro was poised to end the week near a two week low after falling sharply on Thursday. The common currency traded at $1.379 at 5:40 GMT on Friday morning as investors waited for US Federal Reserve members to speak later in the day.

The American central bank surprised markets this week after Fed Chair Janet Yellen insinuated that the bank was planning to raise rates sooner than expected. At the close of her first meeting at the helm, she said the bank may finish its asset purchase program in the fall and begin to raise interest rates six months later.

There are mixed opinions on the intention of her comments, so many are hoping for clarity on Friday when several other Federal Reserve board members address the public.

See also: #PreMarket Primer: Friday, March 21: US Expands Russian Sanctions

Meanwhile the euro continued to trade below $1.38 while the stronger dollar and concern about the region's economic health suppressed prices. Reuters reported that European Central Bank Executive Board member Sabine Lautenschlaeger made comments on Thursday indicating that the bank could take its record low interest rate below 0.25 if need be.

She pointed out that the bank takes economic indicators including, including inflation expectations, into account when making policy decisions. She was adamant that the Fed's policy direction would not have any effect on eurozone decision making.

Although the eurozone's economic data has been slowly improving, many are worried that the current situation with Russia could put a damper on the bloc's recovery. Russia is an important market for many of the region's economies and if the crisis escalates and sanctions are expanded, some nations may begin to feel the economic impact.

Posted-In: News Eurozone Commodities Forex Global Federal Reserve Pre-Market Outlook Markets Best of Benzinga

 

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