As expected, Thursday the ECB announced it was keeping its negative interest rates and beginning a third round of its Targeted Longer-Term Refinancing Operations program, which will offer cheap 2-year loans to eurozone banks, linked to lending to businesses and households.

What's happening: It's been clear since January that quantitative tightening is not happening this year, but the ECB is the first central bank in the developed world to actually go in reverse. Policymakers also slashed growth forecasts for the euro area from 1.7% to 1.1%, which was more aggressive than investors had anticipated.

On Wednesday the Bank of Canada left rates on hold and sent a warning that "the slowdown in the global economy has been more pronounced" and that its economy may be weaker than anyone realized.

  • "Although we figured the economy was in for a detour at the end of last year, that detour may wind up being longer than we had expected," Bank of Canada deputy governor Lynn Patterson said a day after the BOC policy meeting.

The intrigue: Both the Canadian dollar and the euro weakened against the U.S. dollar after the respective central bank meetings, but stocks got no juice.

Canada's benchmark S&P/TSX index edged 0.03% higher Wednesday, despite the market now pricing in greater odds of a BOC rate cut than a hike. The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.55% Thursday and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe fell for a fourth straight day, its longest losing streak since December.

  • Central banks pulling off the breaks and pumping the accelerator is supposed to be good news for equities.

What they're saying: "The depth of cynicism regarding the risks to global growth was on clear display on Thursday, as a dovish ECB actually increasing accommodation not just removing it slower failed to spur the kind of repricing the Governing Council presumably had wanted," BMO Capital Markets analysts said in a note to clients.

  • "In some ways, this is consistent with the idea that the bar is set very high to avert a synchronized slowdown," the analysts said.

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. EST: 32,135,220 — Total deaths: 981,660 — Total recoveries: 22,149,441Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m EST: 6,975,980 — Total deaths: 202,738 — Total recoveries: 2,710,183 — Total tests: 98,481,026Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats prepare new $2.4 trillion coronavirus relief package.
  4. Health: Cases are surging again in 22 states — New York will conduct its own review of coronavirus vaccine.
  5. Business: America is closing out its strongest quarter of economic growth.
  6. Technology: 2020 tech solutions may be sapping our resolve to beat the pandemic.
  7. Sports: Pac-12 will play this fall despite ongoing pandemic — Here's what college basketball will look like this season.
  8. Science: Global coronavirus vaccine initiative launches without U.S. or China — During COVID-19 shutdown, a common sparrow changed its song.
9 hours ago - Sports

Pac-12 will play football this fall, reversing course

A view of Levi's Stadium during the 2019 Pac-12 Championship football game. Photo: Alika Jenner/Getty Images

The Pac-12, which includes universities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington state, will play football starting Nov. 6, reversing its earlier decision to postpone the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The conference's about-face follows a similar move by the Big Ten last week and comes as President Trump has publicly pressured sports to resume despite the ongoing pandemic. The Pac-12 will play a seven-game conference football season, according to ESPN.

Dave Lawler, author of World
10 hours ago - World

Global coronavirus vaccine initiative launches without U.S. or China

Data: Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance; Map: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A global initiative to ensure equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines now includes most of the world — but not the U.S., China or Russia.

Why it matters: Assuming one or more vaccines ultimately gain approval, there will be a period of months or even years in which supply lags far behind global demand. The COVAX initiative is an attempt to ensure doses go where they're most needed, rather than simply to countries that can produce or buy them at scale.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!