Posts Tagged: central banks

 

Mario Draghi, the European Central Bank president, has signalled he is becoming increasingly concerned about high unemployment and low inflation in the eurozone by backing calls for countries to be allowed to apply strict rules on government deficits more flexibly.

In a significant change in tone on the eurozone’s fiscal rules, Mr Draghi said countries should be encouraged to spend more within existing EU regulations that limit budget deficits to 3 per cent of gross domestic product. Germany, the eurozone’s largest and strongest economy, is one member state that could lift growth by boosting investment and cutting taxes

The remarks move the ECB much closer to the position adopted by Matteo Renzi, Italy’s prime minister, and will be welcomed in Rome and Paris.

Mr Renzi has made easing the eurozone’s fiscal restraints one of the hallmarks of his young tenure and has attracted criticism from the ECB president. >> Read More

 

“Disappointing” economic recoveries may point to a permanent downshift in the potential of powerhouses such as the US, Europe and China, the vice-chairman of the US Federal Reserve has warned.

Speaking on Monday to a conference in Sweden about the years since the financial crisis and Great Recession, Stanley Fischer said falling rates of productivity and labour force participation in the US among other factors may have scarred the country’s ability to generate economic growth.

The same thing may be happening for different reasons in Europe, large emerging economies such as China, and elsewhere, he said, forcing central bankers to recast their understanding of inflation, employment and growth in general.

“The global recovery has been disappointing,” Fischer said, adding that long-run annual growth in the US may now be as low as 2%, a full percentage point below the estimate of Fed policymakers as recently as 2009.

Some of that may represent temporary factors that will change if, for example, the US housing market improves. >> Read More

 

German bonds yields plunged to a historic low and two-year rates briefly fell below zero on Thursday on fears of widening recession in the eurozone, and a flight to safety as Russian troops massed on the Ukrainian border.

Yields on 10-year Bunds dropped to 1.06pc after a blizzard of fresh data showed that recovery has stalled across most of the currency bloc, with even Germany now uncomfortably close to recession.

Commerzbank warned that the German economy may have contracted by 0.2pc in the second quarter and is far too weak to pull southern Europe out of the doldrums. Industrial output fell 1.5pc over the three months. The DAX index of equities in Frankfurt has dropped 10pc over the past month and is threatening to break through the psychological floor of 9,000.

Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank (ECB), said the recovery remained “weak, fragile and uneven”, with a marked slowdown in recent weeks on escalating geopolitical worries over Russia and the Middle East.

He said the ECB, which on Thursday held benchmark interest rates at 0.15pc, “stands ready” to inject money through purchases of asset-backed securities and quantitative easing if needed, but would not take further action yet even though inflation had fallen to 0.4pc.

>> Read More

 

After a week dominated by US economic data and a Fed meeting, investors will turn their attention to central bankers abroad.

Here’s a look at what the calendar holds.

Central bank watch

This week it was the Fed – next week it’s the other big three: the European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Bank of Japan all release updates to monetary policy.

Thursday’s decision from the ECB will be closely-watched, as investors speculate on whether President Mario Draghi will introduce quantitative easing in the battle against disinflation. The euro recently hit an 8-month low against the dollar.

The Bank of England is expected to hold benchmark rates at half a per cent, but BoE Governor Mark Carney has been increasingly vocal about the need to lift rates. The pound has gained 5.6 per cent against the euro this year.

The Bank of Japan is anticipated to hold its unprecedentedly aggressive stimulus in place. Recent stalls in inflation have convinced some analysts more is needed, but BoJ chief Haruhiko Kuroda has been more upbeat on the economy than most.

No Federal Reserve policymakers are on the speaking circuit in the coming days.

 

ECB’s latest quarterly bank-lending survey here

Credit conditions for eurozone companies improved for the first time since 2007, according to the European Central Bank’s quarterly lending survey, bolstering hopes for a strengthening economic recovery.

The ECB’s bank lending survey indicated that financial institutions in the common currency bloc reported a net easing of credit standards on loans to enterprises for the first time since the second quarter of 2007, and a further relaxation for household loans.

Moreover, the BLS said that banks have lowered the cost of borrowing for riskier companies, for the first time since the survey was started in 2003.

The survey asked 137 banks in the eurozone, and relate to changes in credit conditions in the second quarter and expectations of changes in the next three months.

Still, the ECB cautioned that lending conditions remained tricky for many companies.

At the same time, it has to be kept in mind that the level of credit standards is still relatively tight.

 
Market focus will remain split between the big events in the US (FOMC and payrolls data) as well as on the myriad of geopolitical risks. Still, it is worth highlighting that the stabilization of the Chinese economy is now being reflected in sentiment towards Chinese equity markets, with H-shares up 20% since their low, thus entering in a proverbial bull market.
Israel central bank announces its decision shortly and is expected to keep rates steady at 0.75%. With inflation easing to 0.5% y/y in June from 1.0% in May, there is little need to tighten policy. Inflation expectations also eased to 1.3% from 1.4% in May, so the central bank is likely to remain on hold for the time being.
Korea reports June current account data Tuesday. It then reports June IP Wednesday, expected to rise 0.5% y/y vs. -2.1% in May. July CPI and trade data will be reported Friday. Inflation is seen easing to 1.6% y/y from 1.7% in June. Exports are seen rising 4% y/y vs. 2.5% in June, while imports are seen rising 2% y/y vs. 4.1% in June. Overall, the picture is one of slowing growth and low price pressures. While some are looking for a BOK rate cut, we see steady rates for now.
South Africa reports money and credit data Tuesday, as well as Q2 unemployment. On Thursday, it reports June trade. Overall, the fundamental picture remains weak and the economy will face more headwinds if SARB tightening continues.

>> Read More

 

IMF head Christine Lagarde has warned that financial markets maybe a little too upbeat given the persistently high levels of unemployment and debt in European economies.

She also warned that continuing low inflation could undermine growth prospects in the region.

But she did say the European economy was recovering and interest rates should stay low until demand picks up.

Last month, the European Central Bank cut its main interest rate to 0.15%.

It also cut its deposit rate – the rate it pays banks to keep money on deposit – to -0.1%, becoming the first major central bank to introduce negative rates. >> Read More

 

One (voting) policymaker has suggested the Federal Reserve will pull the trigger on the first rise in US interest rates since the financial crisis in the early part of 2015.

Richard Fisher, the president of the Dallas Fed and a voting member on the Fed’s top panel, said on Wednesday that the world’s largest economy is recovering more quickly than the central bank had forecast.

Despite a surprise contraction in the first-quarter, the US labour market has continued to improve with the unemployment rate falling to 6.1 per cent in June.

That has intensified speculation among investors over when Fed officials will raise their key overnight borrowing rate. In a speech in Los Angeles, Mr Fisher said:

That early next year, or potentially sooner depending on the pace of economic improvement, the FOMC may well begin to raise interest rates in gradual increments, finally beginning the process of policy normalization.

Mr Fisher also took issue with the argument that a combination of tighter regulation and new capital requirements on banks will be enough to temper the potentially risk-taking by investors that low interest rates encourage. >> Read More

 

The International Monetary Fund has issued a blistering attack on Europe’s authorities for allowing the eurozone to remain stuck in a low-growth trap, warning that they may have to print money with “full conviction” to head off deflation.

“Inflation has been too low for too long. A persistent failure to meet the inflation target could undermine central bank credibility,” said the IMF with remarkable bluntness in its annual health report on the currency bloc.

“A negative external shock could tip the economy into deflation. The recovery is neither robust nor sufficiently strong. Financial markets are still fragmented, with contracting credit and high borrowing costs constraining investment in countries with large output gaps, large debt burdens and high unemployment,” it added.

The fund called for a “large-scale asset purchase programme” if inflation fails to pick up, as well as a concerted push to boost demand, arguing that 70pc of youth unemployment in the eurozone is caused by slump conditions rather than rigid labour markets or lack of skills, as often claimed.

>> Read More

 

Mario Draghi’s plan to end the euro area’s lending drought risks missing the target.

While the European Central Bank president says a program to hand as much as 1 trillion euros ($1.4 trillion) to banks has built-in incentives to spur lending to the real economy, analysts from Barclays Plc to Commerzbank AG have doubts on how well it will work. In fact, the measure allows banks to borrow cheaply from the ECB even without increasing credit supply.

Draghi has identified weak lending as an obstacle to the euro area’s recovery and is committed to reversing a slump that has eroded more than 600 billion euros in loans to companies and households since 2009. The risk is that if the latest plan fails, the currency bloc slips closer to deflation and to the need for more radical action such as quantitative easing.

“It’s not the silver bullet,” said Philippe Gudin, chief European economist at Barclays in Paris. “Every incentive for banks to lend is a good thing, but I wouldn’t say I’m reassured that credit will pick up.” >> Read More

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Team ASR,
Baroda, India.