European stock markets have started the week with a whimper. In the Monday session, the DAX is trading at 12,432 points, down 0.08% on the day. On the release front, it’s a very light day. The sole event, the German Wholesale Price Index, improved to 0.0%, but fell short of the estimate of 0.4%. On Tuesday, German releases ZEW Economic Sentiment.
Global stock markets showed plenty of volatility last week, as nervous investors waited to see if US President Trump would make good on his threat to punish Syria for using chemical weapons against rebel positions. On Saturday, a US-led strike destroyed several chemical installations in Syria. Predictably, Syria and Russia strongly condemned the attack, but are unlikely to retaliate despite the rhetoric. The markets had already priced in an attack, and are hopeful that Trump’s declaration of “mission accomplished” means that things will remain relatively quiet in Syria. However, further chemical attacks by the Syrian regime could trigger a response from the US and its allies, which could result in more volatility in the markets.
The ECB minutes pointed to some concerns which could affect plans to wind down its stimulus program. These include the tariff spat between the US and China, which ECB policymakers stated would hurt “all countries involved.” As well, there is concern that Britain’s departure from the European Union could cause more economic harm than previously expected. At the same time, the eurozone economy continues to perform well and inflation has been steady. This makes it unlikely that the ECB will extend stimulus, but could opt for a longer exit path. As for interest rate policy, no rate hikes are expected anytime soon – On Friday, Commerzbank pushed back its forecast for an ECB interest-rate increase by three months to September 2019.