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Markets Cheer Quantitative Easing

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Markets Cheer Quantitative Easing

ETFS Multi-Asset Weekly Markets Cheer Quantitative Easing

Highlights

Chinese GDP and ECB’S QE provide a lift to cyclical commodities.

European bourses cheer on a bolder-than-expected QE programme.

Draghi comes to QE party, as focus moves to Greek election result.

ETFS MW w52015

Although the announcement of quantitative easing (QE) by the European Central Bank (ECB) was widely anticipated, the overall size was larger than expected. At EUR60bn a month until September 2016, the ECB will purchase more than a EUR1trn over the course of the programme. The ECB clearly wants the Euro area to move out of a deflationary mindset. Cyclical assets moved decisively higher, while gold, often seen as an alternative currency also gained on Fear of a further slump in the Euro as the ECB’s looks to boost its balance sheet. Today’s Greek Election outcome will no doubt bolster demand for haven assets as Europe contends with another period of uncertainty.

Commodities

Chinese GDP and ECB’S QE provide a lift to cyclical commodities. Chinese 2014 GDP was better than expected, warding off some of the gloom that has beset industrial metals lately. China is the world’s largest consumer of industrial metals and therefore its economic performance has a large bearing on the demand for these metals. The ECB’s moves to drag the laggard euro area economy out of a deflationary rut also acted as a catalyst to both industrial and precious metal gains. A growing euro area will bode well for industrial metal demand while fears that the euro currency will be debased by the ECB’s balance sheet expansion drove demand for gold and silver higher. With the gold to silver ratio having hit multi-year highs at the end of 2014, many investors see silver as a relatively cheaper way to gain exposure to hard assets. Arabica coffee fell 9.5% on the back of cooler weather easing stress on coffee bushes in Brazil this week. Natural gas fell 9.4% on the back of a return to milder weather conditions in US.

Equities

European bourses cheer on a bolder-than-expected QE programme. The bold and decisive move by the ECB, was met by equity market optimism, as market participants felt that the central bank had left its reticent past behind it and is willing to tackle its deflationary problems head-on. The DAX was marginally down on the day of the announcement, probably reflecting some of the German cynicism toward the risk-sharing elements of the expanded programme. Meanwhile gold miners traced the gold price higher with the DAXGlobal Goldmining Index gaining 5.9% in the week. China A-Shares had a volatile week, with the MSCI China A-Share Index falling 7.2% on Monday on the announcement of tighter regulations on margin lending and then rising 4.1% on Wednesday when better-than-expected GDP data was released. This week, US GDP figures will likely be the focal point for a market assessing the Federal Reserve’s capacity to raise interest rates.

Currencies

Draghi comes to QE party, as focus moves to Greek election result. The moves in the Euro suggest that the ECB’s new QE program surprised the market somewhat with its magnitude and timeframe. The open ended nature of the programme indicates a real commitment to doing ‘whatever it takes’, and the self determination of the balance sheet target makes the 2012 target level within easy reach. Last week’s announcement was a sharp contrast from its previous strategy which was characterised by reticence to undertake bold action. We expect that the ECB QE programme will lead to flatter yield curves across the Eurozone and that widening rate differentials will continue to weigh on the Euro against major currencies. The Greek election is the markets crosshairs this week and the Euro is likely to continue lower as concerns over Greece’s willingness to repay debtors linger ahead of the Feb 28th deadline for the expiry of its ECB funding programme.

Important Information

This communication has been issued and approved for the purpose of section 21 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 by ETF Securities (UK) Limited (”ETFS UK”) which is authorised and regulated by the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (”FCA”).

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