Wednesday, 20 October 2021

ECB to focus on bond-buying exit as threats mount

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FRANKFURT: European Central Bank President Mario Draghi will press ahead with his exit from massive stimulus Thursday, analysts expect, playing down multiplying threats to economic good times in the eurozone.

The list of potential pitfalls runs from a growing intra-EU row over the Italian budget to increasing risk of a no-deal Brexit, trade tensions with the United States, turmoil in emerging markets, rising oil prices and jumpy economic indicators.

A major upset could threaten growth in the eurozone – and the ECB’s years-long quest for its goal of inflation steady at just below 2.0 percent.

The official account of September’s governing council meeting showed some members felt “a case could also be made for characterising the risks to activity as now being tilted to the downside”.

While Draghi ultimately stuck to his judgement that positive and negative risks were “broadly balanced”, the record demonstrated discord among the 19 national central bank chiefs and six board members who set policy.

For ING Diba bank economist Carsten Brzeski, “even though recent developments have been anything but encouraging, the downside risks are simply too minor and too premature for the ECB to alter its chosen path”.

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