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Central banks keep markets guessing

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on September 19, 2019 - Duration: 01:33s

Central banks keep markets guessing

Markets were struggling to digest a raft of central bank policy decisions on Thursday, after the U.S. Fed cut rates, the BOJ and the BOE kept their powder dry - but Norway hiked.

David Pollard reports.

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Central banks keep markets guessing

ECB, BOJ, BOE: the last week has been an alphabet soup of central bankers.

Though for markets it's the numbers that matter.

Especially if it's the Fed.

A quarter per cent rate cut from the U.S. central bank on Wednesday (September 18) was expected.

What wasn't expected was the slightly less dovish tone from chief Jerome Powell.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN, JEROME POWELL, SAYING: "We're not... we don't see a recession.

We're not forecasting a recession, but we are adjusting monetary policy in a more accommodative direction to try to support what is in fact a favorable outlook." The Bank of Japan signalled more stimulus could come as early as next month.

But on Thursday (September 19) kept policy on hold even so.

That policy decision drove the yen up around half a per cent against the dollar.

The greenback itself left subdued by the mixed message from the Fed.

Asian shares mostly eased back on the prospect of less cheap money than hoped for.

Though Europe's bourses - already boosted by last week's European Central Bank policy easing - were positive.

The other gainers of the day: the Swiss franc jumped after the Swiss National Bank kept rates on hold.

And the Norwegian crown rallied as Norway actually hiked rates - making it the only G10 country to still be doing so.

There was no such luck for sterling.

Thursday's decision by Bank of England's to keep rates on hold - despite mounting Brexit risk - left the pound on hold too, at half a cent or so below one dollar 25.

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