The European Central Bank (ECB) will announce its latest policy decision on Thursday (21 April), after introducing a series of new stimulus measures in March in a bid to boost a stagnant economic recovery and to address ongoing low inflation.
The Governing Council of Europe's central bank is largely expected to keep key interest rates and its asset purchase programme unchanged. ECB president Mario Draghi's press conference will, as usual, be closely monitored for any potential clues on the ECB's next move.
In March, the ECB cut its main interest rate by five basis points (bps) to 0.00% and increased quantitative easing (QE) by €20bn to €80bn per month, in a move that somewhat surprised the markets. The ECB also cut the deposit facility rate by 10bps to -0.40% and the marginal lending facility rate to 0.25% from 0.30%.
"Mario Draghi may see today as an opportunity to take some of the fizz out of the euro, something he failed to do previously," said Oanda's senior market analyst Craig Erlam. "While it's clear that the ECBs intentions last month were to emphasise that the stimulus package was intended to improve credit channels, not weaken the currency, I don't think they quite expected the markets to respond as they did."
The meeting in March saw the euro fluctuate wildly either side the press conference. The currency ended the day up more than 1.5% against the dollar having been down more than 1.5% before ECB president Mario Draghi spoke to the press.
Economists from Danske Bank said: "Despite the comprehensive package of easing, which was announced in March, the ECB is still under pressure to ease again as inflation expectations remain around a historically low level, while the effective euro has strengthened following the easing from the ECB."
Minutes from the bank's last meeting showed the Governing Council remains wary of a volatile macroeconomic environment and "would not rule out future cuts in policy rates".