Wednesday, June 01, 2005

ECB: Just Look At This!

I had promised myself a quiet day. I may have to eat my words. Look at this on the euro, and remember my post yesterday.

The currency also weakened after Germany's Stern magazine reported German Finance Minister Hans Eichel and Bundesbank President Axel Weber discussed a possible failure of European monetary union. The euro is off to its worst start of a year since 2001, down 9.3 percent compared with the dollar.

``This is extremely bad timing and has undoubtedly compounded euro selling,'' said Monica Fan, head of global foreign-exchange research at RBC Capital Markets Ltd. in London.

The euro retreated from as high as $1.2341 after the magazine said Eichel and Weber, who represents Germany on the ECB's policy committee, discussed the euro's potential failure with economists. The magazine quoted Joachim Fels, chief fixed- income economist at Morgan Stanley, who took part in the meeting. Fels declined to comment.

``We can neither confirm nor deny'' that a meeting took place, said Bundesbank spokesman Wolf-Ruediger Bengs in a telephone interview. ``We hope to issue a statement shortly.''

This is incredible stuff, and that it is breaking in the press must also be indicative of something. I go back to my post last week. It seems what I suggested is right: the ECB is deeply divided, and this 'quietism' and the policy of twirp is causing alarm in two important economies (Germany and Italy). This is not the end of the euro, but this discussion could mark the begining of the end. It all depends on how rapidly events unfold, and how long 'ostrichism' prevails in Frankfurt and Brussels.

Postscript: I am following the evolution of the Euro/USD over at our other page: A Few Euros More.

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