ECB slows purchases but keeps policy ultra-loose

The ECB today confirmed that it will slow its asset purchases slightly but this is a long way from a “full taper”. We think inflation will drop even further than the ECB expects over the medium term and expect the Bank to continue with asset purchases of over €50bn per month until the end of next year. What next for the ECB? We’re hosting a post-mortem after Thursday’s Governing Council meeting at 1100 ET to discuss its decision and our views on the euro-zone’s economic and inflation outlook. Register here.
Andrew Kenningham Chief Europe Economist
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European Economics Weekly

A fresh start for the Bundesbank?

Other than Mr Weidmann’s abrupt departure from the Bundesbank, the news this week has been dominated by the twin problems of rising inflation and slowing economic growth. There is more bad news to come, including a further increase in inflation in October (data due next Friday). However, the ECB is sure to leave its policy unchanged at next Thursday’s monetary policy meeting and will reiterate its view that the inflationary pressures will be largely transitory. We agree with this, but there are growing risks that the increase in inflation will be larger and last longer than either we or the ECB are currently forecasting.

22 October 2021

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Euro-zone Flash PMIs (Oct.)

October’s euro-zone PMI surveys suggest that supply problems in the manufacturing sector are getting worse, weighing on output and causing price pressures to intensify.

22 October 2021

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ECB insisting that inflation is largely transient

Nobody expects the ECB Governing Council to make any policy changes at next week’s monetary policy meeting. However, Christine Lagarde will address concerns about rising inflationary pressures and we expect her to reiterate that, even if they are stronger than anticipated, they are likely to prove temporary. She will probably also stress that the ECB’s current guidance implies that rate hikes are further away than suggested by financial markets. Otherwise, the focus will be on when and how to end the PEPP, decisions on which are scheduled for December.

21 October 2021

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European Data Response

German Industrial Production (July)

The small increase in German industrial production in July merely reversed the fall in June, and left output well below normal. While the rest of the economy is now close to a full recovery, supply chain problems among manufacturing companies will keep GDP below its pre-pandemic level until Q4 at the earliest.

7 September 2021

European Chart Book

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.

6 September 2021

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
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