Gold edged lower and the euro slipped ahead of almost certain policy easing from the European Central Bank on Thursday. But will Mario Draghi have enough tools to revive a struggling euro zone economy? David Pollard reports.
The money presses roll virtually non-stop since QE started exactly a year ago. 700 billion euros of assets bought so far by the ECB. The equivalent of 1.3 million euros a minute or 2,000 euros for every man, woman and child in the euro zone. Markets, though, are looking for more. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CMC MARKETS ANALYST, MICHAEL HEWSON, SAYING: "Currently, what's priced in is a ten basis points cut to minus 0.4, potentially another 10 billion euros in asset purchases to 70 billion euros a month, but ultimately I think there is a concern that further deposit rate cuts are going to be counter-productive, simply because of the concerns about the financial stability of the banks." The other concerns are low inflation - it's minus 0.2 per cent. And - amid global pressures - faltering growth. Germany posting a sharp rise in industrial output on Tuesday the only sparkle in a dull data landscape. For many analysts, ECB boss Mario Draghi and his policymakers came up short at their December meeting. But there's also a worrying sense that he could be running out of options. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CMC MARKETS ANALYST, MICHAEL HEWSON, SAYING: "Mr Draghi's key challenges are ... trying to tell markets that the ECB has plenty of has tools at its disposal to try and keep the European economy on an even keel. But ultimately ahead of tomorrow's meeting I don't really see how much more he can do in the absence of structural reform." Such reform a more distant prospect at best. In the meantime, if Draghi disappoints again, brace for the same market sell-off that followed the December decision.