FRANKFURT, May 26 (Xinhua) -- The euro to U.S. dollar exchange rate on Friday fell to its lowest level since last November amid new political uncertainties in southern Europe, which occurred also against the backdrop of eurozone growth slowdown since the beginning of 2018.
It is widely expected that the European Central Bank (ECB) will end its monthly net purchases of public and private sector securities, which currently amount to 300 billion euros (35 billion U.S. dollars), by the end of this year. However, it's so far unclear if the latest cooling of economic expansion would make the ECB postpone so-called normalisation of monetary policy.
"Data releases ahead of the June monetary policy meeting would need to be carefully scrutinised to better understand the sources of the recent moderation in growth," the Governing Council of the ECB said in the account of its April 25-26 monetary-policy meeting published on Thursday.
On the one hand, the ECB saw the moderation of economic expansion in the euro area as "normalisation from last year's exceptionally high growth rates, while unexpected temporary factors were also seen to have played a role," according to the account.
On the other hand, it was widely felt by the members of the ECB Governing Council that uncertainty surrounding the outlook of eurozone growth had increased, particularly those related to global factors, including the threat of increased protectionism, which had become more prominent.
Besides, broader weakening of demand across the euro area should be closely monitored, during which temporary and potentially more lasting influences should be distinguished, the ECB said.
Despite the slowdown of growth, confidence in the underlying strength of the euro area economy and the eventual convergence of inflation to the inflation aim remained unchanged, with expectations of inflation five years ahead in the ECB Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF) for the second quarter of 2018 staying unchanged at 1.9 percent, while Market-based inflation expectations staying at 1.7 percent.
"As close as the ECB is to taking this historic decision to end QE, the risk is that the exit from QE has to wait a little longer," a research report released recently by Deutsche Bank argued.
It pointed out that the reason was not related to Italy, but the need to understand "whether the unexpected slowdown in economic growth is temporary or not and whether still subdued core inflation means forecasts for normalisation remain too optimistic."
As Deutsche Bank expected, a quantitative easing (QE) exit announcement by the ECB in July is conditional on gross domestic product (GDP) growth re-accelerating in the second quarter, core inflation moving back to around 1 percent after Easter and an unwarranted tightening of financial conditions.