ECB

Comment on the latest ECB council meeting (June 14)

The ECB is sending a clear signal that it will exit its QE program by the end of this year. The ECB’s announcement is courageous as risks to the euro area outlook have increased significantly in recent months. Yet the announcement is wise as the ECB needs to prepare markets early in order to avoid the Fed’s taper tantrum of a few years ago.

Yet the ECB is maintaining enough flexibility to react to risks, should they materialize. Unfortunately, it … [continue reading]

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ECB Economic Policy Monetary Policy

“European Central Bank has to keep all its options open”

The ECB is keeping its course and following its expansionary monetary policy stance. There had been expectations in Germany that the ECB would promise to end its purchase program in September, but these have been disappointed. The ECB has to keep its options open. The recent turmoil in financial markets, the stronger euro and disappointingly weak inflation in the euro area don’t bode well for a swift end of the purchase program. Despite the change in forward guidance, I now … [continue reading]

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ECB Europe

Comment on the latest ECB council meeting

The ECB has to strike a delicate balance between preparing markets for an exit from QE and keeping its options open to extend its QE program further, if need be. The most difficult challenge for the ECB is that it is still not sufficiently fulfilling its price stability mandate despite a stronger than expected euro area recovery. The stronger Euro, which is pushing down inflation, does not make life any easier for the central bank.

After today’s press conference, an … [continue reading]

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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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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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