ECB Europe Monetary Policy

The ECB can only tighten its monetary policy gradually

The ECB has chosen a gradual and cautious exit from its expansionary monetary policy stance. The decision gives the ECB a maximum of flexibility for exiting QE. I expect the ECB to terminate its QE program after September 2018 and to raise rates for the first time in 2019 at the earliest. The ECB can tighten policy only gradually as it is only slowly approaching its price stability mandate. The ECB has to maintain a high degree of flexibility in … [continue reading]

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Europe

Op-ed of Franco-German Economist Group on EMU reforms

The euro area has recently seen some good news. A broad-based economic recovery is under way. Significant institutional reforms have been achieved, particularly in the area of banking union. Significant economic reforms are under way in several countries, including in France.

As French and German economists committed to Europe and to the friendship between our countries, we are nonetheless concerned that the Euro area continues to face significant fragilities.  Addressing these requires a comprehensive, collaborative push for reforms. If this … [continue reading]

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Currency and Financial Markets ECB Europe Monetary Policy

Statement on ECB interest rate decision

The ECB keeps its options open about the exit of its expansionary monetary policy stance. There has been no significant change in ECB communication. The statement by President Draghi makes a very gradual tapering of its bond purchases in 2018 the most likely path. Many open questions about ECB monetary policy remain unanswered. It is still open when the ECB will end its bond purchases and when it will start raising interest rates.

The overreaction of financial markets to ECB … [continue reading]

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Europe Foreign Trade and International Economic Relations

Helmut Kohl Was Right

Economists criticize his decisions on German reunification and the euro, but he understood better the relationship between politics and economics.

Helmut Kohl’s death earlier this month has revived a contentious debate over his legacy. Although the former chancellor of Germany is widely considered to be a political genius, conventional wisdom holds that his economic policy was a failure. It’s time to reassess that view. Kohl was smarter on economics than many professional economists are willing to admit.

The arguments that … [continue reading]

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Currency and Financial Markets ECB Europe

Statement on the ECB council meeting (June 8, 2017)

The ECB has now cautiously started its monetary policy reversal, even if only through words rather than deeds. The change in communication is an important step in the right direction.

Many in Germany consider the ECB’s exit as too slow. Many underestimate the importance of the ECB decision, which signals a sustained monetary policy tightening for the first time in more than ten years. The ECB is right in preparing the exit gradually and not abruptly in order not to … [continue reading]

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Currency and Financial Markets ECB Europe

Statement on today’s meeting of the Council of the European Central Bank (ECB)

The ECB is right to orientate its policy towards price stability at the mid-term and not to react to short-term price movements. Calls for an early exit of the ECB’s expansive policy are misplaced and premature. The price dynamics of the past two months mainly reflect a normalization of energy prices. The euro area economy remains weak and unemployment rates are too high to allow for a quick return to price stability and for an end to the expansive monetary … [continue reading]

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Business Cycles, Growth, Economic Structure Currency and Financial Markets ECB Economic Policy Europe Foreign Trade and International Economic Relations

Germany’s Misunderstood Trade Surplus

Now that Germany’s current-account surplus has reached a record €270 billion ($285 billion), or close to 8.7% of GDP, the ongoing debate about its economic model has intensified. Eurozone politicians and Donald Trump’s administration in the United States are each blaming the other for the economic imbalance; and all are blaming the euro.

Trump’s administration, for its part, has attacked Germany for exporting too much, and accused it of manipulating the euro. In fact, Germany’s trade surplus has little to … [continue reading]

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ECB Europe Monetary Policy

Statement on the ECB decision

The ECB decision is wise and balanced. It may disappoint many in Germany. The extension of the PSPP programme was inevitable as the risks to the euro area economy are still huge and the ECB is likely to miss its price stability mandate through 2019.

The ECB decision is wise as it leaves all options open. The ECB is introducing more flexibility through the changes to the PSPP programme. The ECB decision implies a longer period of low interest rates … [continue reading]

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ECB Europe

Statement on today’s meeting of the Council of the ECB, October 20, 2016

The ECB decision bears no major surprises. Draghi did not contradict market expectations of an extension of the QE program to be announced in December. Such an extension has thus become even more likely. I do not expect a reduction in the monthly purchases by the ECB. Such a step would disappoint market expectations and could trigger undesired market reactions. The latest economic news are not encouraging and give little cause for a fundamental change in monetary policy.

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ECB Europe Foreign Trade and International Economic Relations Macroeconomics Monetary Policy

Statement on today’s meeting of the Council of the European Central Bank (ECB), July 21, 2016

The European Central Bank is facing a difficult dilemma. The slower the euro area economy is growing, the lower interest rates and the harder it becomes for the ECB to implement its public sector purchase program. The ECB has assumed a wait-and-see strategy in the hope that its new measures will be effective and the economy will not deteriorate further. Italy’s banking crisis, more than the Brexit, is an enormous risk for the entire euro area, also for Germany, and … [continue reading]

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