Update: Reuters chimes in with its own headline, saying the discussion was brief, without broad support.
- SOME ECB RATE SETTERS RAISED POSSIBILITY OF RATE HIKES BEFORE END QE, DISCUSSION WAS BRIEF, WITHOUT BROAD SUPPORT - SOURCES
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The EURUSD spiked, European stocks faded gains, and German Bund futures tumbled to session lows following B loomberg report that the ECB has discussed whether the central bank can hike rates before the end of QE.
As Bloomberg further adds, ECB policy makers considered the question of whether interest rates could rise before their bond-buying program comes to an end, and notes that the central bank's Governing Council on March 9 "exchanged views on ways of communicating and sequencing an exit from unconventional stimulus."
That said, Bloomberg's sources notes that the council didn’t discuss any specific scenario or timeline and hasn’t made any formal decisions on a strategy. An ECB spokesman declines to comment on the rumor. Bloomberg further adds that the ECB Governing Council currently “expects the key ECB interest rates to remain at present or lower levels for an extended period of time, and well past the horizon of our net asset purchases.”
While the report may be merely the latest trial balloon to gauge the market's response, for the now the market is not taking chances, and has aggressively sold off the German bunds, while paring gains on the Stoxx 600 to only 0.2% on the day: Bund futures tumbled to session low of 159.10 on the news, sending the Bund yield to 0.48%, while Schatz futures likewise drop sharply and the Euribor strip steepens in expectation of future ECB rate hikes.
As to the mechanics of just how the ECB hikes rates while continuing to buy bonds, we eagerly look forward to the details.