Three Reasons Why the ECB's Historic Move Matters For the Fed

Thu, January 22, 2015


European Central Bank President Mario Draghi announced a $1.3 trillion asset purchase program Thursday to revive the region's growth.

...Government bond yields declined from Germany to Spain after the ECB move. The Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Broad Market Sovereign Plus Index had an effective yield of 1.16 percent as of yesterday, close to the record low of 1.14 percent reached Jan. 19.

The decline in foreign bond yields makes U.S. Treasuries look attractive, and that is helping yields fall here. The U.S. 10-year note is at 1.88 percent, down from 2.14 percent since Fed officials last met.

Even though Fed officials don't want to create a bubble, the decline in long-term borrowing costs is already stoking U.S. housing markets. Refinancing lowers household debt costs, and new home purchases spur the construction sector.

"The U.S. housing sector is a major beneficiary of the European Central Bank's quantitative easing," said Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson ICAP LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey.