Rise in inflation is not over

Headline inflation came in higher than our above-consensus forecast in August and, at 3.0%, reached its highest level for a decade. It is likely to rise a bit further in the coming months: producer price inflation has risen recently and the price components of surveys such as the PMIs show that price pressures are still strong. However, we think inflation will drop even further than the consensus and ECB expects over the next two years. This is largely because we expect wage inflation to remain low, given that there is more slack in the labour market than before the pandemic and that the Phillips curve is flat. Although there are some signs that the recovery is losing momentum, this is inevitable as activity gets close to its pre-pandemic level. Against this backdrop we think the ECB is likely to dial down its emergency asset purchases slightly on Thursday and end them completely next March, but continue with its standard asset purchase programme for several years and leave the deposit rate unchanged for the foreseeable future.
Andrew Kenningham Chief Europe Economist
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European Economics Weekly

ECB’s line on inflation contrasts with the Fed’s

In contrast to those at the US Fed, ECB policymakers are not ready to retire their argument that the current bout of high inflation is temporary. This reflects the significant difference in inflationary pressures between the two economies. Next week, we will get the detailed breakdown of November’s German inflation data, which will shed more light on the stronger-than-expected outturn. Meanwhile, with less than two weeks to go until December’s ECB meeting, the Governing Council appears to have reached a consensus on some aspects of its asset purchase programmes. But comments from Christine Lagarde today suggest that it will avoid making any long-term commitments.

3 December 2021

European Data Response

Euro-zone Retail Sales (Oct) & Final PMIs (Nov.)

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3 December 2021

European Data Response

EZ Unemployment (Oct.)

While labour market conditions continued to improve in October, the recent deterioration of the Covid situation and increased uncertainty due to the Omicron variant are likely to mean the recovery takes a breather over the next couple of months, just as it did when restrictions were in place at the start of 2021.

2 December 2021

More from Andrew Kenningham

European Economics Weekly

Inflation to rise further, but then fall

Inflation will rise further from the 3% level reached in August in the coming months, but we are confident that it will drop back sharply next year, as most measures of underlying inflation and wage pressures remain very low. Meanwhile, all eyes will be on the ECB Governing Council meeting next Thursday, when we expect policymakers to announce the start of a very gradual reduction in the Bank’s asset purchases.

3 September 2021

ECB Watch

Slower purchase pace in sight, but rate hikes are not

The ECB is likely to use next week’s meeting to prepare the ground for a very gradual reduction in asset purchases under the emergency PEPP. But, taking a leaf out of the Fed’s book, it will stress that this does not mean that rate hikes are getting closer, or even that policy is being tightened. Looking ahead, we think the ECB is most likely to end its PEPP purchases by next March but simultaneously step up its APP purchases. And it will leave its deposit rate unchanged until beyond 2025.

2 September 2021

European Economics Update

ECB may not agree taper until December

The account of the ECB’s July meeting confirms that a minority of Governing Council members objected to the dovish shift in the Bank’s interest rate guidance. Partly because of this, we now think the Bank is more likely to take until December to agree when and how to “taper” its PEPP purchases.

26 August 2021
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