by Peter Nielsen, Central Bank News
Shaken by the loss of momentum in the euro area’s economic recovery, the European Central Bank (ECB) pushed its benchmark refinancing rate to the lower bound and added fresh fuel to its June stimulus measures by buying asset-backed securities (ABS) and covered bonds.
The ECB’s measures are aimed at easing the credit conditions for the euro zone’s ailing banking sector which accounts for over 80 percent of all credit that is provided to businesses and households.
The ECB’s decision to cut its refi rate to 0.05 percent and the deposit rate to minus 0.20 percent was triggered by news that growth in the second quarter stagnated from the first quarter while inflation in August fell further to 0.3 percent – the weakest since October 2009 – renewing fears that the euro zone may slipping into Japanese-style deflation.
The ECB’s move to inject liquidity into financial markets may turn out to be opportune for the global economy.
Apart from the geopolitical risks from the Ukraine and Mideast, the global economy is continuing its moderate recovery and the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England (BOE) remain on track to raise rates at some point in 2015.
So just as investors could become jittery over the prospect of rate rises by the Fed and BOE, the ECB will start pumping money into financial markets.
The global economy may be not be firing on all cylinders but the ECB’s action may ensure that financial markets remain on a smooth and steady path upwards.
With the ECB’s rate cut, the 90 central banks followed by Central Bank News have now cut their policy rates 46 times through the first 36 weeks of this year compared with 35 rate rises.
Of this year’s 331 policy decisions, 13.9 percent have favored rate cuts, up from 12 percent at the end of the first half and 12 percent at the end of the first quarter.
But the trend toward higher global rates, pushed by the Fed, remains alive, with 10.6 of decisions favoring rate rises, up from 9.3 percent at the end of June and 8.7 percent at the end of March.
LIST OF LAST WEEK’S CENTRAL BANK DECISIONS:
- Australia maintains rates, still sees period of stable rates
- Egypt holds rate to limit inflation, anchor expectations
- Canada maintains rate, still neutral about policy change
- Poland maintains rate but will cut if economy weakens
- Kenya holds rate but keeps money market tightening bias
- Brazil holds rate, cites evolution of economy, inflation
- Sweden holds rate steady, sees first rate rise end-2015
- BOE maintains rate, stock of assets, as expected
- ECB cuts repo rate 10 bps to 0.05%, deposit rate -0.20%
- ECB to embark on QE by buying ABS, covered bonds
- BOJ maintains expansive policy, sees moderate recovery
- Mexico holds rate on better balance of economic risks
TABLE WITH LAST WEEK’S MONETARY POLICY DECISIONS:
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This week (Week 37) nine central banks are scheduled to decide on monetary policy: Croatia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Serbia, Chile, Peru, South Korea and Russia.
TABLE WITH THIS WEEK’S MONETARY POLICY DECISIONS:
|COUNTRY||MSCI||DATE||CURRENT RATE||1 YEAR AGO|