Main Euribor rate nudges lower as ECB sticks to forward guidance
FRANKFURT, Sept 17 (Reuters) - The benchmark Euribor bank-to-bank lending rate dipped on Tuesday ahead of an expected curtailing of U.S. economic stimulus, as the European Central Bank held its line on forward guidance. Nearly three-quarters of economists polled by Reuters said they expect the U.S. Federal Reserve to announce it will trim its monthly spending on asset purchases by $10 billion after its Sept. 17-18 meeting. The prospect of such a slowdown in stimulus, seen as the first step away from the ultra-loose monetary policy the Fed promoted during the global economic crisis, has helped push money market interest rates higher in Europe recently. The ECB has repeatedly said that the euro zone was not yet in a condition that would warrant a similar move and has instead vowed to keep rates low or lower for an extended period of time. ECB Governing Council member Erkki Liikanen was the latest policymaker to underline the ECB's forward guidance on Tuesday, after ECB President Mario Draghi did the same on Monday. Also on Monday, ECB Executive Board member Yves Mersch said the ECB was not running out of options, but added that the central bank was not about to deploy any of its options in the near future. On Tuesday, the three-month Euribor rate, traditionally the main gauge of unsecured bank-to-bank lending, slipped to 0.222 percent from 0.223 percent. The six-month Euribor rate edged up to 0.339 percent from 0.338 percent, while the one-week rate was steady at 0.096 percent. The overnight Eonia rate rose on Monday to 0.073 percent from 0.072 percent. Excess liquidity in the euro zone banking sector stood at 243 billion euros, still high enough to keep short-term market rates below the ECB's refinancing rate. The ECB said in its July monthly bulletin that as long as excess liquidity "remains above a certain threshold, estimated to be in the range of 100 billion to 200 billion euros, short-term money market rates are expected to stay slightly above the deposit rate". Draghi said earlier this month, however, that there was no stable relationship between excess liquidity and market rates. Euribor rates are fixed daily by the Banking Federation of the European Union (FBE) shortly after 0900 GMT. * For a table of the latest Euribor fixings for terms of one week to one year, double click on * For a table of the previous day's fixings of EONIA swap rates, which show market expectations for future overnight lending rates, double click on * For graphs of historic Euribor and EONIA swap rates, right click on the links in angle brackets below, and select 'Related Graph' 1 week 2 week 3 week 1 month 2 month 3 month 4 month 5 month 6 month 7 month 8 month 9 month 10 month 11 month 1 year (Reporting by Frankfurt newsroom; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
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