FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The European Central Bank could take action including a possible rate cut at its policy meeting on Thursday, as central banks around the globe rev up stimulus to support the world economy through a period of heightened uncertainty from trade wars and Brexit.
The ECB, which sets interest rates for the 19 European Union member countries that use the euro, is expected by many analysts to at least tweak its promise to keep interest rates at rock-bottom levels into next year. The new wording would emphasize that the next move down the road could be a cut.
But a rate cut Thursday is not out of the question either — even though one of the rate benchmarks is already below zero.
That would see the ECB moving ahead of an expected rate reduction from the U.S. Federal Reserve, which has an outsized role due to the size of the U.S. economy and the dollar’s status as an international currency for borrowing and trade. Fed officials have signaled they may cut rates at their July 30-31 meeting, from the current benchmark federal funds rate of 2.25-2.5 percent. Central banks in South Korea, Indonesia and South Africa have already cut rates in recent days.
Analysts at bank Morgan Stanley predict the ECB will cut its deposit rate from minus 0.4% to minus 0.5% at the bank’s Sept. 12 meeting or before and “wouldn’t be surprised if this was to happen already” at Thursday’s meeting. The negative rate means banks pay to keep cash overnight at the ECB, a penalty aimed at pushing them to lend the money.
“The main question is whether the ECB can afford to wait six more weeks before delivering new monetary stimulus or whether it should surprise...