Euro slides after ECB shocks markets with interest rate cu

In early trade, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.1pc at 1,399.68 points, retreating from a 6-1/2 year high hit in the previous session.

The euro nursed hefty losses, having suffered its biggest one-day fall in nearly three years against the greenback after the European Central Bank delivered a fresh round of stimulus and promised even more if needed.

The common currency slumped over 1 percent against most of its major peers and notched a 1.6 percent drop on the dollar – the biggest one-day decline since November 2011.

The ECB cut interest rates to fresh record lows and announced plans to buy asset-backed securities (ABS) and covered bonds in October.

“While President Draghi declined to provide a size estimate for the asset purchase program, he indicated that…the ECB aimed to increase its balance sheet back towards levels seen in 2012, which would imply a roughly 1 trillion euros, or a 50 percent increase, from current levels,” analysts at BNP Paribas wrote in a note to clients.

Euro zone equities and sovereign bonds all rallied pushing the two-year yields in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and France into negative territory.

The euro skidded to a 14-month low of $1.2920, bringing into view the July 2013 trough of $1.2898. It hit a one-month low of 135.97 yen and carved out a 15-month trough of A$1.3798.

“Although investors may be reluctant to short the euro at these levels, we argue that the current weakening trend can continue,” analysts at Barclays said.

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