Monex Europe | Today’s announcement by the European Central Bank can be perceived as net dovish in the short-term by markets, as the shift from an asymmetric target to a new symmetric 2% inflation target gives the central bank ample room to run accommodative monetary policy for longer without having to fight markets. Previously, the ECB’s inflation target was set at “below, but close to 2%”, which contributed to the eurozone’s structural issues with low inflation for years. By changing this target to a symmetric target, which means any undershoots and overshoots would be equally undesirable, the central bank moves the bar slightly upwards for inflation before policy is required to tighten.
ECB inflation target
Bruno Cavalier (Oddo-Bh) | In January, inflation in the Eurozone jumped by 1.2 points to 0.9% yoy, largely due to the increase in VAT rates in Germany. Later this year, the ECB’s target inflation rate of 2% is likely to be exceeded. After the compression of some prices in 2020, the base effects are expected to be very strong. The ECB has no reason to react to a bump in inflation, but since Christine Lagarde has accustomed us to a convoluted message to please the “hawks”, we cannot exclude the possibility of the ECB getting muddled up in its communication.
The minutes released by the FED and the ECB last week shared concern about how to inform about their monetary stance. They fear unsettling the markets should investors wrongly interpret the messages conveyed to them. When you lack a clear policy perspective, the best thing you can do is to manage communication in a fairly tight way.
José Luis M. Campuzano (Spanish Banking Association) |The ECB believes the net effect of a policy of zero interest rates (negative in the case of the deposit rate) has been positive for the revenues of the different economic players. But the impact has not been equal.
We need to analyse what the “inflation triggers” are at the moment, beginning with those related to the domestic environment. In this case, key factors are salaries and what’s happening with prices.
J. L. M. Campuzano (Spanish Banking Association) | Stable inflation centred around levels of 2.0%…A scenario dominated by rising inflation is as complicated as one where deflation and potential low economic growth can create a vicious circle difficult to exit. Especially in a context of high indebtedness.
Fernando Barciela | The central bank has put QE in place, a trillion euros asset purchase programme, but inflation has returned to negative territory. Has the ECB’s strategy failed? Are critics right when they say it does too little, too late.