Mistaken FT tweet causes currency market flurry

A Financial Times newspaper board hangs outside a newsagents in London.
A Financial Times newspaper board hangs outside a newsagents in London.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - The Financial Times on Thursday caused a flurry on currency markets after erroneously tweeting that the European Central Bank was to leave interest rates unchanged, minutes before the ECB actually cut a key rate.

The British newspaper sent out a tweet from Twitter account @FTMarkets at 1238 GMT (8.38pm Singapore time) reading "ECB leaves rates unchanged in shock decision."

The alert sent the currency jumping to US$1.0611, compared with US$1.0542 beforehand.

The message linked to a full story, in which the newspaper wrote: "The European Central Bank has left interest rates unchanged, dashing expectations of a cut to its deposit rate.

"Policymakers on the governing council left the deposit rate, which applies to a portion of banks' reserves parked at central banks across the currency area, at minus 0.2 percent."

However, the bank announced less than 10 minutes later that it would cut the deposit rate, one of its key rates, to minus 0.3 per cent.

The ECB announcement then sent the currency tumbling, although it has since rebounded to over US$1.08 on disappointment over stimulus measures.

"The Financial Times tweet, sent in error, that said the ECB was going to keep rates unchanged, interfered with the market," said Christopher Dembik, analyst at Saxo Bank.

James Hughes, chief market analyst at online broker GKFX, said: "The mix up caused the Euro to rally and left the markets confused as to what was to come next".

The FT has since deleted the old post and apologised for the error, adding that the story was published in error.

A later @FTMarkets tweet confirmed that "ECB cuts interest rate to new historic low".

The paper explained that the article was one of two pre-written stories that had been prepared in advance of the announcement, and which was published due to an editing error.

"The FT deeply regrets this serious mistake and will immediately be reviewing its publication and workflow processes to ensure such an error cannot happen again," it said.