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Forex pairs in this Article » EUR/USD, GBP/USD
FXStreet (London) - While the morning has been light on data, with little from Europe and the second reading of fourth quarter UK GDP coming in on consensus (0.7 percent quarter-on-quarter), there have been a couple of announcements of note.

German court opens doors to smaller parties

First up was the ruling by the German federal constitutional court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) overruling the 3 percent threshold for parties to take seats in the European Parliament.

Germany has 96 lawmakers in the 751-member European Parliament and the ruling opens the door for some of Germany's smaller, and predominantly eurosceptic parties taking seats following May's European elections.

The constitutional court described the 3 percent vote threshold as a serious infringement of parties' rights to equal treatment.

Parties that could set to gain from the ruling include the extremist socialist National Democratic Party as well as the eurosceptic Alternative for Germany party, which advocates an end to the euro.

Nowotny plays down negative rates

The second significant pronouncement of the morning came from Austria National Bank president and ECB governing council member Ewald Nowotny, who talked down the possibility of negative rates saying that they were unlikely to modify banks' behaviour and stimulate lending growth within the Eurozone. With the ECB deposit rate currently at zero, Nowotny cited psychological reasons for avoiding negative deposit rates.

Further US home sales weakness

With a light US calendar ahead, we are likely to see a continuation of this morning's subdued momentum. January new home sales are expected to see a third straight decline, with consensus expectations for a 3.4 percent drop following the 7.0 percent fall in December and 3.9 percent decline in November. While we will likely see the "poor weather" excuse return, the run of weak US data continues to cast doubts over the resilience of US growth.
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