O BCE anuncia pela hora de almoço de quinta-feira as suas decisões de política monetária de Fevereiro. Em cima da mesa, como hipóteses mais prováveis, estão há vários meses um corte nas taxas de juro principais (incluindo uma taxa de juro de depósitos negativa que desincentive os bancos a acumular excesso de liquidez no BCE) e outro empréstimo de longo prazo aos bancos (que incluia condições que incentivem a cedência de crédito à economia). É no entanto cada vez maior o número de economistas que defende que o BCE tem de ser mais ousado, especialmente face aos riscos de deflação que se está a instalar na periferia europeia (a taxa de inflação da Zona Euro nos 0,7% em Janeiro é já o valor mais baixo desde 2009). Compras de activos directamente aos bancos que possam aliviar as taxas de juro na periferia está entre as opções mais referidas. Recolhemos aqui quatro análises públicadas esta semana que pressionam Draghi a fazer mais.
Guntram Wolff, do Bruegel, pede uma política monetária “mais agressiva”
Clearly, the euro area has been experiencing major disinflationary tendencies. The ECB's bank stress tests and asset quality review could lead banks to further curb lending and also global risk and a euro appreciation could undermine the recovery. In combination, deflationary risks are significant while the risk of overshooting the target is minimal. Yet, debt sustainability in many European countries will look illusionary with low and falling inflation rates. Unsustainable debt would then certainly trigger the next crisis. So what could be done? (…)
A further reduction in the rate combined with another long-term refinancing operation would be natural and fully within the mandate. (…)
The ECB should therefore clearly communicate that it will penalise government bonds in the asset quality review, thereby pushing lending to the real economy. A lowering of collateral standards for credit to firms would be a further instrument. (…)
The purchase of corporate bonds and loan portfolios sold by banks would be relatively uncontroversial and would improve credit conditions in the euro-area periphery. Ending the sterilization of past government bond purchases would also be uncontroversial and push liquidity into the market. (…)
Jackob Kirkegaard, do Peterson Institute, defende compra de activos pelos centrais nacionais
But for the ECB’s governing council in Frankfurt to be indifferent to the problems of the periphery could undermine these countries’ recovery and longer-term debt sustainability. There is a case for the ECB to do more—but what? (…)
Ideally, the ECB would conduct a geographically targeted intervention via its central balance sheet in Frankfurt. But if that path is too contentious, because of the implicit fiscal transfers it implies, national central banks could purchase existing or new domestic bank loans made to the nonfinancial sector. Such a step would strengthen the balance sheets of banking systems and assume some credit risk, helping domestic banks make more new loans to businesses. (…)
If such new loans could also be sold to the central bank at a reasonable price, peripheral banks would extend more new credit at lower rates closer to the euro area average. All told, these actions could ease the credit crunch faced by businesses in peripheral countries, without entailing any fiscal transfer in the euro area. (…)
If the ECB itself refuses to act on the current deflationary situation in the periphery, a majority of the governing board can at least allow national peripheral central banks to do something about it.
Ashoka Mody (Bruegle e Princeton) diz que BCE é lento e pesado e propõe reestruturações de dívida
The ECB's tight monetary policy explains why the weakest of the advanced economies has the strongest currency and faces the greatest threat of deflation. The widespread surprise at its Nov. 7 decision to belatedly lower the policy rate is a testament to the ECB's stodginess.
We are long past the moment when several banks should have closed down. Zombie banks weigh on the economy. The ECB could expeditiously force losses on bondholders of insolvent banks, since it is well-positioned to deal with contagion risk by providing liquidity to solvent institutions.
The taboos are greatest with regard to sovereign debt. The ECB has insisted that it will not engage in monetary financing – that is, it will not buy sovereign bonds on an open-ended basis; instead, sovereigns must preserve their bonds as risk-free assets. By making its support conditional on promises of good behaviour, the Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) programme conflates solvency and liquidity.
The euro area needs unconditional ECB bond purchases alongside selective sovereign default. With default risk rendered more believable through, for example, sovereign “CoCos” (contracts that specify debt restructuring at pre-agreed levels of distress), the ECB should stand as a lender of last resort to solvent sovereigns. This is not monetary financing: it is maintaining financial stability.
Corte pequeno de juros não chega, diz Munchau no FT
Mario Draghi, president of the ECB, promised last month to ease monetary policy if inflation ended lower than expected. That condition is now fulfilled, so I would expect him and his governing council to make good on this promise.
But another smallish rate cut is not going to be enough. Monetary policy has many direct effects, for example on the stock market, but its effects on the price level takes time. A rate cut of 0.15 percentage points could never make the difference between deflation and price stability. The ECB will have to do a lot more heavy lifting to prevent deflation. I am not sure that we will see a sufficiently forceful response. And it has already left it rather late.
The last thing the global economy needs at the moment is a resurgence of the European debt crisis. It is that the global economy is going through a weak cyclical recovery. However, it is also that everybody is vulnerable to shocks elsewhere.
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