October 25, 2019 / 10:34 AM / 18 days ago

FOREX-Euro edges up marginally on steady German business morale in October

* German Ifo business survey unchanged in October

* Ifo chief economist sees small expansion in Germany

* ECB survey, comments defend recent central bank policy easing

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh (Recasts, adds new context and news, updates prices)

By Olga Cotaga

LONDON, Oct 25 (Reuters) - The euro was up slightly Friday after a survey revealed German business morale held steady in October, though levels were not far from the one-week low it fell to Thursday on the European Central Bank leaving the door open for more policy easing.

Germany, Europe’s largest economy, is stabilising after contracting earlier in the year, a survey conducted by Germany’s Ifo institute showed on Friday.

Its chief economist also forecast that the German economy was likely to expand slightly in the fourth quarter.

On the other hand, euro zone inflation and growth expectations have continued to fall, a key ECB survey showed on Friday, providing further justification for its latest stimulus package.

Moreover, Governing Council member Pierre Wunsch said on Friday that a recent string of dismal economic indicators justified the ECB’s move last month to provide more stimulus.

The ECB cut the key interest rate to -0.50% and announced a new wave of bond purchases in September. But outgoing President Mario Draghi highlighted the importance of accomodative fiscal policy in the euro area, which together with ECB’s quantitative easing programme should have a much stronger impact on the euro zone’s potential recovery.

Other ECB members have mirrored that view.

ECB Governing Council member Bostjan Vasle said on Friday that euro zone countries should introduce structural and fiscal measures that would improve their growth potential.

FED IN FOCUS

The focus will shift next week to a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting ending Oct. 30 and a Bank of Japan meeting ending Oct. 31. The Fed is expected to cut interest rates for a third time this year, but money markets have largely priced in a 25 basis points cut already, according to Refinitiv data.

“It should be a done deal,” said Richard Falkenhall, senior currency strategist at SEB.

Therefore, the central bank meetings next week are “not going to move markets very much,” Falkenhall said. “I don’t think it will have a major impact on euro/dollar,” he added.

The BOJ is leaning towards keeping policy on hold next week, but the decision is a close call as policymakers struggle with the fallout from the U.S.-China trade war.

The euro, together with other major currencies, looks destined to remain in a narrow trading range in the near future, keeping volatility down, the only trend in the otherwise trendless forex market, analysts said.

The common currency rose 0.1% to $1.1119, though was not far from the one-week low of $1.1094 it reached on Thursday. The index which tracks the dollar against six major currencies was flat at 97.63.

The Swedish crown too was in neutral territory, last trading at 10.72 against the euro. On Thursday, however, the Swedish currency jumped to a one-month high after the Riksbank cemented hopes of an interest rate increase to 0% in December.

Still, the Riksbank, which apart from the Norges Bank, is the only central bank in the developed world raising interest rates, did not forecast another rate rise after December.

“It seems like things are getting really really boring in the FX markets,” said Falkenhall. “The FX market will be a zombie market.”

Traders will be watching next the U.S. University of Michigan consumer sentiment index, due at 1400 GMT. Economists polled by Reuters expect the index to remain steady at 96 in October. (Reporting by Olga Cotaga; editing by David Evans)

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