Details Cookies
Hong Kong S.A.R
Cookie policy

This website uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience by enabling, optimising and analysing site operations, as well as to provide personalised ad content and allow you to connect to social media. By choosing “Accept all” you consent to the use of cookies and the related processing of personal data. Select “Manage consent” to manage your consent preferences. You can change your preferences or retract your consent at any time via the cookie policy page. Please view our cookie policy here and our privacy policy here

Trade war looming Trade war looming Trade war looming

Macro Insights: Central banks on the agenda – Fed, ECB and Bank of England

Macro 4 minutes to read
Charu Chanana

Market Strategist

Summary:  A slew of key central bank meetings are on the horizon, with the Fed decision due today and the Bank of England (BOE) and European Central Bank (ECB) announcements due tomorrow. Fed Chair Powell has little reason to turn dovish at this point, with risks to inflation emanating from easing financial conditions and China reopening. But a hawkish Powell may only shift the focus back to data. ECB’s hawkishness has some more room to run, much as the BOE’s divide.

Key central bank meetings are due over the next two days, presenting a host of event risks. Markets however remain rather upbeat and are showing no signs of nervousness, with VIX sitting below 20 and S&P500 staring at a key resistance of 4100. Although part of the market rally this week could be attributed to month-end flows, there is some reason to believe we are going into these central bank meetings with dovish-to-neutral assumptions. Let us consider what we can get.

Fed: Powell to emphasize higher-for-longer

With economic data in a Goldilocks situation in the US, the Fed’s likely downshift to 25bps rate hikes makes the most sense as it buys them more time to assess the growth and inflation trajectories. We wrote a preview for the Fed meeting here, but it is worth noting that it is becoming extremely necessary for Powell to push back on the 2023 equity rally and the easing financial conditions especially with the recent rise in commodity prices starting to lift inflation expectations. But will the market care?

Despite Powell’s repeated messages on higher terminal rates, market pricing seems to continue to chart its own path. The key message at this meeting needs to move away from terminal rates to the push back against excessive easing that the market is pricing in, and an emphasis on higher-for-longer interest rates with risks to inflation skewed to the upside.

There is little reason for Powell to be dovish, as he would certainly want to push back on excessive easing priced in by the markets. But a neutral-to-hawkish Powell is widely expected and may likely invoke only a knee-jerk reaction from the markets, offering some tactical opportunities. The US dollar may have some scope to make a recovery but the economic data trends are a bigger piece of the puzzle as of now, and will be a guiding the path for the USD more than the Fed itself. Only a firmer commitment from Powell in either direction, such as a 50bps rate hike or signaling a clear pause (like the BOC), would drive a market reaction that sticks.

ECB: Still scope for upward repricing in the front-end curve

The European Central Bank has surpassed its peers in the hawkishness quotient recently, and will likely repeat that this week. A 50bps rate hike is expected, along with the guidance for another 50bps in March which still has the scope to bump up front-end pricing with markets looking at 93bps of rate hikes over the next two meetings.

Looking further out, about 160bps of rate hikes are priced in for the ECB until mid-year and that limits the scope to surprise on the hawkish side. If Fed proves to be more hawkish than the ECB this week, EURUSD can potentially move towards 1.07. But incoming data, including the Spanish CPI report this week, give the ECB enough ammunition to preserve its current hawkish stance this Thursday. But the 1.0920 resistance has proved tough for EURUSD, and without an upward repricing in the ECB path, that will remain difficult to overcome. EURGBP appears to be an easier pick for this week, with ECB and BOE policy and economic divergences much more evident.

Bank of England: 50 and BOC?

The Bank of England will likely be the trickiest given the indecisive market pricing as well as the scope for a split vote. Broader consensus hints at another 50bps rate hike this week, but a pause signal, potentially not as clear as the one from Bank of Canada (BOC), may also be on the cards. For this, investors will need to read through the Bank’s quarterly inflation forecasts which are also due to be reported this week. Downward revisions to inflation forecasts from November estimates of 1.8% for 2024-end and 0.4% for 2025-end will mean further pricing out of tightening.

Growth risks for the UK economy are also more significant than the other major economies, as also highlighted by the latest IMF forecasts (see below). While the Bank’s own growth forecasts may be subject to an upward revision after a recession was highlighted previously, and data has been more hawkish since, it still seems that the market pricing of the BOE’s path from here remains prone to downside revisions. This leaves little scope of upside on the sterling.


The Saxo Bank Group entities each provide execution-only service and access to Analysis permitting a person to view and/or use content available on or via the website is not intended to and does not change or expand on this. Such access and use are at all times subject to (i) The Terms of Use; (ii) Full Disclaimer; (iii) The Risk Warning; (iv) the Rules of Engagement and (v) Notices applying to Saxo News & Research and/or its content in addition (where relevant) to the terms governing the use of hyperlinks on the website of a member of the Saxo Bank Group by which access to Saxo News & Research is gained. Such content is therefore provided as no more than information. In particular no advice is intended to be provided or to be relied on as provided nor endorsed by any Saxo Bank Group entity; nor is it to be construed as solicitation or an incentive provided to subscribe for or sell or purchase any financial instrument. All trading or investments you make must be pursuant to your own unprompted and informed self-directed decision. As such no Saxo Bank Group entity will have or be liable for any losses that you may sustain as a result of any investment decision made in reliance on information which is available on Saxo News & Research or as a result of the use of the Saxo News & Research. Orders given and trades effected are deemed intended to be given or effected for the account of the customer with the Saxo Bank Group entity operating in the jurisdiction in which the customer resides and/or with whom the customer opened and maintains his/her trading account. Saxo News & Research does not contain (and should not be construed as containing) financial, investment, tax or trading advice or advice of any sort offered, recommended or endorsed by Saxo Bank Group and should not be construed as a record of our trading prices, or as an offer, incentive or solicitation for the subscription, sale or purchase in any financial instrument. To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, you must note and accept that the content was not intended to and has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such, would be considered as a marketing communication under relevant laws.

Please read our disclaimers:
- Notification on Non-Independent Investment Research (
- Full disclaimer (

Saxo Capital Markets HK Limited
19th Floor
Shanghai Commercial Bank Tower
12 Queen’s Road Central
Hong Kong

Contact Saxo

Select region

Hong Kong S.A.R
Hong Kong S.A.R

Saxo Capital Markets HK is a company authorised and regulated by the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong. Saxo Capital Markets HK Limited holds a Type 1 Regulated Activity (Dealing in securities); Type 2 Regulated Activity (Dealing in Futures Contract); Type 3 Regulated Activity (Leveraged foreign exchange trading); Type 4 Regulated Activity (Advising on securities) and Type 9 Regulated Activity (Asset Management) licenses (CE No. AVD061). Registered address: 19th Floor, Shanghai Commercial Bank Tower, 12 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong

By clicking on certain links on this site, you are aware and agree to leave the website of Saxo Capital Markets, proceed on to the linked site managed by Saxo Group and where you will be subject to the terms of that linked site.

Apple, iPad and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the US and other countries. AppStore is a service mark of Apple Inc.

Please note that the information on this site and any product and services we offer are not targeted at investors residing in the United States and Japan, and are not intended for distribution to, or use by any person in any country or jurisdiction where such distribution or use would be contrary to local law or regulation. Please click here to view our full disclaimer.