ISSN: 2056-3736 (Online Version) | 2056-3728 (Print Version)


The euro gained against the U.S. dollar Thursday after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi defied investors’ hopes by not committing the central bank to a sovereign-bond-buying program.¬†Instead, Draghi said the ECB would wait until 2015 to consider whether the central bank should begin buying European sovereign debt.

The shared currency (EURUSD) surged as Draghi spoke, climbing to $1.2436 Wednesday afternoon, its highest level in two days.

“There’s always sort of an expectation of what [Draghi’s] going to say, and the expectation this time was that even if he didn’t announce that they were going to do sovereign QE, that he would give a concrete indication of when they would,” said Steven Englander, global head of G10 FX strategy at Citi.

Instead of offering a clear plan, Draghi said that the central bank would reexamine the necessity of more easing in 2015 if economic conditions continue to worsen, Englander said.

The euro’s moves in Thursdays session were largely propelled by technical factors, breaking from the trend of movement based on underlying economic data which has been dominant for most of 2014.

Investors were largely short the euro and long European government bonds ahead of the ECB meeting on the expectation that Draghi’s would soon start buying up massive amounts of European government debt. When this didn’t happen, government bond prices started falling, and investors were forced to unwind their trades to cover their losses.

“Nothing out there says inflation is stronger than we thought, but yet the euro is stronger — significantly stronger,” said Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman.

The euro rose from a multi-year low earlier in the session to above Wednesday’s highs in the space of a couple hours. Market technicians call this type of movement a ‘key reversal’, Chandler explained. A so-called key reversal usually leads to a shift in an asset’s near-term trend.

“The near term trend has been down, so a near term trend reversal means that maybe the euro has got some legs,” Chandler said.

The resurgent euro initially dragged the dollar lower against each of its G-4 rivals, but investors quickly reversed their trades after the Department of Labor said that the number of jobless claims fell back below 300,000.

In other currencies,. the dollar (USDJPY) traded at 120 yen, its highest level in seven years, after the jobless claims number. It traded at Yen119.80 Wednesday afternoon.

The pound (GBPUSD) settled at its Wednesday-afternoon level of $1.5686 Thursday after briefly rising to $1.5715 while Draghi was speaking.