LONDON: Bets on more central bank support put European shares at a two-month high and the region’s bond yields at record lows on Tuesday, as oil prices reached under $80 a barrel ahead of an OPEC meeting this week.
Markets were still trying to catch their breath after a hectic few days of sharp share rises, currency swings and new lows for euro zone bond yields following strong easing signals from ECB head Mario Draghi and a surprise Chinese rate cut.
Asian stocks had dipped despite another record high for Wall Street overnight, and Europe’s bourses also saw a subdued start with Britain’s FTSE 100 .FTSE, Germany’s DAX .GDAXI and France’s CAC 40 .FCHI all barely budged in early trading.
“We have had fresh signs of easy money coming from China and strong signals from Mario Draghi and the ECB and that is what driving markets at the moment,” said Kerry Craig a global markets strategist at JP Morgan. “There are real risks of recession and deflation, but there are also reasons to believe that 2015 will be a better year for the euro zone than this year has been.” German data showed a rise in private consumption helped its economy – Europe’s biggest – avoid recession last quarter, while France saw a better-than-expected rise in business morale. “These results go in the right direction, they must now be consolidated in the coming months,” said French Finance Minister Michel Sapin.
Among the region’s central bankers, the debate over further easing appears to be continuing. France’s ECB member Christian Noyer said in Tokyo the central bank’s statements about boosting its balance sheet by around 1 trillion euros were an expectation rather than a firm commitment. That followed Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann’s warning on Monday that government bond buying, which economists hope would boost the euro zone economy, would face legal hurdles.