Javier García Arenas and Adrià Morron Salmeron (CaixaBank ) | The independence of central banks seems indisputable, even more so in these times of pandemic, in which they have increased their use of unconventional policies and provided coverage for the high funding needs of states. In this article we will explore the theory and empirical evidence supporting the importance for central banks to maintain their independence.
The Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank, will not distribute any profit to the Federal Government for the first time since 1979, following the noticeable impact that the emergency monetary policy measures implemented in response to the pandemic had on the bank’s balance sheet, which substantially strengthened its risk provisions. The German central bank’s net interest income in 2020 fell by 38.2% to €2.87 Bn, while it posted losses of €1.557 Bn for financial operations and risk write-downs against the profits of €2.281 Bn in 2019.
Intermoney | In the name of the ECB independence, Christine Lagarde, made it clear that the only guide for the institution is the fulfilment of its mandate and no resources or efforts will be spared in this task. Once the central bank has made it clear that it does not accept the authority of the German courts, it must move on towards a more political phase in which it can build bridges and provide a solution to the problem. If it does not do so within three months, the Bundesbank could find itself in a difficult legal mess.
Ewald Nowotny, a member of the ECB Governing Council said recently he was comfortable with the possibility of an increase in the deposit rate, from -0.4% to -0.2%, “as a first step” before any change in the official interest rate. At April 6, European banks kept 690, 384 million euros in the ECB. It’s the first time, since interest rates have been at a record low of 0%, that an ECB member has talked so clearly about a rise.
Francesco Saraceno | This post is nothing new. It is just a reminder for non European readers (or for distracted European readers), about the way things work in the EMU. The German Bundesbank President Weidmann violently attacked the European Commission for failing to enforce fiscal discipline within the Stability Pact.
Milton Friedman once wrote (1969) something like a short story about money creation. A helicopter drops banknotes amongst the population: a few lines in an article on how ‘to create’ inflation when the economic policy measures are thought to be exhausted.
Indeed, the ECB can go further. Draghi broke the discipline again by skilfully taking advantage of a dull reference in the communiqué to the ECB’s intention to study all potential possibilities should the need arise.
WASHINGTON | By Pablo Pardo | Guess which country pioneered Quantitative Easing in Europe… Exactly: Germany!
BERLIN | By Alberto Lozano | The German economy has gone from growing at 0.8% q-o-q earlier this year to being on the verge of recession as a result of the geopolitical situation, especially after the sanctions against Russia. Only now in December the country seems to recover its confidence. However, an expected GDP growth of around 1% in 2015 continues to be insufficient to spur growth in the Eurozone.