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Letting daylight in upon the magic

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  • The European Central Bank is finally to let daylight in upon the magic of its deliberations, by publishing the minutes of the 22 January meeting which introduced quantitative policy. Perhaps the minutes will borrow the style of the Nixon tapes and use "expletive deleted" when recording the views of some members on this policy.
  • ECB minutes are unlikely to be that important to markets, because the policy die is cast - we know what happens out to September 2016. The Fed minutes are more interesting as the Fed could do anything. Sadly the minutes released last night showed division rather than purpose, and do not clarify the outlook.
  • One of the credit rating agencies said that if things got bad for Australia they might have to downgrade Australia's AAA rating - as statements of the obvious go, this is a pretty classic example. However, with lunar new year upon us, investors in the Asian time zone had little else to occupy them, so it had a modest impact.
  • Japanese exports showed considerable strength in yoy terms in January. However enthusiasm must be tempered. First, a lot of the strength was exports to China (lunar new year distorted). Second, exports are reported in value not volume terms, and the weak yen boosts values without necessarily boosting volumes.