Last Friday the pound lost and regained three quarters of a cent against the euro. It emerged on Monday morning pointing higher and edged upwards until Tuesday afternoon. The next 48 hours erased all of those gains and more. After lunch on Thursday sterling was looking at a one-cent loss. It bounced a cent higher during the afternoon before trickling back down to score a quarter-cent net loss on the week.
It was all about the European Central Bank, its President Mario Draghi and what he would announce at his press conference following the monthly Governing Council Meeting. He had set the ball rolling seven days earlier with his pledge to do "whatever it takes" to preserve the euro. Sig. Draghi's sentiments were echoed over the weekend when Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande echoed his sentiments in almost identical terms.
After that initial euphoria, which took the euro higher across the board, investors began to question the ability of the ECB to deliver what it had so boldly promised. The single currency dropped back. Then it was game-on again as investors persuaded themselves that the president really might have something up his sleeve.
All their questions were answered on Thursday afternoon, but not everyone was satisfied. Mario Draghi set out a comprehensive outline of how governments, the EU stability funds and the ECB itself would pull together to implement a range of reforms and actions to dampen out unwanted volatility or price movements. He was keen to point out that it would be a team effort, saying "the ECB cannot replace governments".
There were misgivings among investors though. If anything, ECB interventionism had been toned down: The ECB president said any sovereign debt the Bank might buy would be "focused on the shorter part of the yield curve". In other words, it would not buy 10- or 30-year bonds, it would support the market for, let's imagine, 6- to 24-month obligations (he was not specific). When that penny dropped, Spanish and Italian borrowing costs jumped 30 basis points higher, taking the yield on Spanish 10-year bonds back above 7%.
The financial world is divided as to whether the ECB's road map will deliver the euro to the correct destination. Broadly, analysts see sense in Sig. Draghi's proposals, believing it to be the nearest thing to an holistic solution that they have seen so far. Investors are less convinced. They wanted action this day and they did not get it.
Either way, the can has probably been kicked far enough along the road to avoid any horrors during the European holiday month. The ECB president might not have won the gold medal but he must surely be in line for the endeavour prize.