ECB Headquarter

Source

After categorically denying it would ever plan to buy government bonds since the ECB was created, the opposition against such a plan seems to be decreasing as the central bank has stated that it plans to do everything it can to increase the liquidity in the system and to avoid a possible (and increasingly likely) period of deflation in the Eurozone.

Draghi promised to put his bazooka to work and pledged in September to try to pump 1000B EUR into the markets. At that time, it sounded like his plan to provide more liquidity through allowing the banks to get their hands on dirt-cheap loans provided by the ECB (by paying just 0.15% on a 4-year loan) and the purchase of Asset-Backed Securities (‘ABS’) on the open market would be sufficient to effectively increase the liquidity into the financial system. However, the first round of the Long-Term Refinancing Operation was an absolute dud as only a fraction of the available money was taken up by the banks. On top of that, a large part of that money was requested by Italian banks which were (and still are) facing some tough times as their exposure to the domestic market is usually very high.

Draghi Bazooka

Source

This obviously results in the need to push another button on Super-Mario’s bazooka and now the possibility to purchase government bonds on the open market seems to become more and more likely. Several members of the ECB have now started to openly discuss this subject and it is becoming a accepted topic for discussion as it’s no longer ‘off-limits’ like it used to be just a few years ago.

Draghi might be too focused on tackling the inflation problem and there have already been reports of members of the ECB committee not agreeing with his leadership tactics and totalitarian way to push his ideas through. So it’s not a big surprise to see the Central bank of Austria – in the person of president Nowotny- issue a ‘wait a minute’-statement.

Nowotny

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