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GLOBAL MARKETS-ECB spooks with stimulus slowdown, soothes with extension
December 8, 2016 / 3:55 PM / a year ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-ECB spooks with stimulus slowdown, soothes with extension

* Stock markets climb for fourth day, Wall Street at record

* ECB spooks bonds with stimulus slowdown, euro slumps

* China trade beats forecasts, commodity imports jump

* Oil prices steady after slip, steel surge lifts iron ore

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2016

By Marc Jones

LONDON, Dec 8 (Reuters) - The euro dived following a brief surge and bond markets were left dazed on Thursday, after the European Central Bank said it would slow its stimulus programme from April but also extend it until at least the end of next year.

ECB President Mario Draghi stressed that the move, which will see its purchases drop from 80 billion euros a month to 60 billion, was not the kind of Federal Reserve-style ‘tapering’ that caused a global market selloff in 2013.

Stock markets and banks in particular cheered the move. Wall Street was at record highs as it opened, while European banks climbed as much 4 percent on hopes for an end to pressure on their profits from low interest rates.

Bond market had a far more adverse reaction. Italian and Spanish bonds saw their 10-year yields jump 13 to 14 basis points before cutting the losses by around a half as the ECB announced a number of tweaks to its plans.

“A sustained presence is also the message of today’s decision,” ECB President Draghi said.

“Uncertainty prevails everywhere,” he told a news conference after a decision he called “pragmatic and flexible”.

The euro gained almost a cent after the bank’s statement to hit $1.0875 but then fell 1.2 percent at $1.0615.

Euribor money market futures <0#FEI:> fell as much 8 bps across the 2017-2020 curve as investors moved to price in a slim chance of a rise in euro zone interest rates late next year.

Germany’s 10-year bond yield, the benchmark for the region, was up 8 bps at 0.43 percent, after falling as low as 0.37 percent, level with where it stood just before the ECB decision.

“Less for longer is the take-away from the ECB so far,” said Mizuho strategist Peter Chatwell. “However, make no mistake, the ECB has eased monetary policy with this move.”


Wall Street pulled back following a strong earthquake in California after New York trading began, but that wasn’t enough to subdue MSCI’s world index amid Europe’s gains and after Asia ex-Japan had hit a one-month high overnight.

Risk appetite there got a boost when China reported upbeat trade figures, with exports and imports both beating forecasts. Resource imports were strong, a major reason prices for bulk commodities have been rising.

The resource-heavy and China-sensitive Australian market jumped 1.2 percent, as did MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan.

A record peak for Samsung helped lift South Korea 2 percent and Tokyo’s Nikkei gained 1.45 percent as it brushed off a disappointing downward revision to Japan’s third-quarter growth.

“The (China data) improvement reflects a strengthening in global demand, with recent business surveys suggesting that developed economies are on track to end the year on a strong note,” said Capital Economics’ Julian Evans-Pritchard.

In commodity markets, oil steadied after declining on doubts that production cuts promised by OPEC and Russia would be deep enough to end a supply overhang.

U.S. crude climbed back above $50 a barrel and Brent futures rose to $53.70. Industry chatter also centred on a surprise Russian deal to sell a 10.5 billion-euro, 19.5 percent stake in oil giant Rosneft to Qatar and commodities trader Glencore.

Gold nudged lower after climbing in Europe and commodities including iron ore and coking coal struggled to hold on to gains made after Chinese demand drove steel prices to their highest since April 2014.

Back in the currency market, the dollar gained from the euro’s swoon to jump 0.8 percent against a basket of currencies and back up to 114 yen after a largely subdued European session.

New Zealand’s dollar was another big gainer after its central bank head made it clear the bank was probably done with cutting interest rates . (Additional reporting by Patrick Graham in London and Wayne Cole in Sydney; Editing by Larry King)

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