Sunday

17th Nov 2019

IMF tells eurozone to turn on printing presses

  • "There is room for monetary policy in the euro area to ease further" (Photo: Tabbo107)

The euro crisis continues to weigh down the global economy, the International Monetary Fund said Monday (16 July), putting pressure on the European Central Bank to lower its interest rate even further and issue more cheap loans to the banks.

"There is room for monetary policy in the euro area to ease further. In addition, the ECB should ensure that its monetary support is transmitted effectively across the region and should continue to provide ample liquidity support to banks under sufficiently lenient conditions," the IMF said in its annual World Economic Outlook.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 year's of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

The Washington-based finance outfit cut its global economic growth forecast to 3.9 percent from 4.1 percent in April, mainly due to the continued stress in the eurozone and weaker-than-expected economic activity in emerging countries.

"The utmost priority is to resolve the crisis in the euro area," the IMF said. Overall, the 17 euro countries will contract by 0.3 percent this year and return to a 0.7 percent growth rate next year, the IMF predicts.

The specific reference to the ECB is meant to increase pressure for the Frankfurt-based body to turn on the printing presses via cheap loans, low interest rates and "some form of quantitative easing", meaning direct or indirect bond purchasing aimed at lowering governments' borrowing costs.

The ECB last year bought some Italian and Spanish bonds on the so-called secondary markets where they are traded after being purchased from governments (primary markets). But so far, ECB chief Mario Draghi has ruled out a resumption of this programme.

"What we can expect at the moment is another interest rate cut in September and possibly a further easing of collateral rules for banks (when they seek ECB loans)," ING economist Carsten Brzeski told this website. He said it was not unusual for the IMF to come up with "provocative" ideas which stem from a different central bank culture. Unlike the US Federal Reserve, the ECB is prohibited from buying bonds directly from governments.

German delay

The IMF report praised euro-leaders for their "step in the right direction" at a 28 June summit where they agreed to create a single supervision for eurozone banks and to recapitalise troubled banks directly from the bailout funds, rather than going through governments' balance sheets.

But the German constitutional court has meanwhile announced it will wait until 12 September before ruling on the constitutionality of the new eurozone bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism, and on the treaty on fiscal discipline signed by 25 EU states. The ESM should have come into being on 9 July, with senior politicians, including from Germany, having warned the court of the potential consequences of a delayed vote.

Delayed or insufficient policy action - a possible reference to the ESM stalemate - is the biggest risk to the global recovery and could further escalate the euro crisis, the IMF said.

“Simply put, the euro periphery countries have to succeed,” IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard said when presenting the report.

Barroso condemns British "delight" at euro crisis

European Commission President Jose Barroso Tuesday launched an angry attack on British Conservative's in the European Parliament, accusing them of "taking delight" in the eurozone debt crisis.

EU and China agree to defend 'gastronomic jewels'

Manchego cheese, Panjin rice and Polish vodka will all be protected under a new EU-China agreeement. But the two trading giants continue to struggle over other trade-related deals.

News in Brief

  1. Catalan politicians extradition hearing postponed
  2. Germany: EU banking union deal possible in December
  3. EIB: no more funding of fossil-fuel projects
  4. UK defence chief: Russia could trigger World War III
  5. Hungary's Varhelyi will face more questions
  6. Police put former Berlusconi MEP Comi under house arrest
  7. MEPs criticise Poland for criminalising sex education
  8. UK will not name new commissioner before election

Opinion

Why von der Leyen must put rights at core of business

Ursula von der Leyen's in-tray must include those European executives on trial for systematic workplace harassment, the break-up of European slavery rings, and allegations of European companies' abuse in palm oil, including child labour, land grabs, and deforestation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Latest News

  1. France unveils new model EU enlargement
  2. Key moments for new commission This WEEK
  3. EU threatens legal action against UK over commissioner
  4. Corruption in the Balkans: the elephant in the room
  5. Green MEPs unconvinced by Romanian commissioner
  6. EU states fell short on sharing refugees, say auditors
  7. Hungary's commissioner-to-be grilled over loyalty to Orban
  8. Widow's plea as EU diplomats debate Magnitsky Act

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us