Tuesday, April 05, 2011

ECB: crisis averted

This is not the time to announce "mission accomplished" with respect to a nascent economic recovery. Japan and the middle east tensions have not been fully accounted for, and the peripheral EU countries are still embroiled in crisis. Interesing language from the EU official below regarding "normalization" as criteria for rate moves as opposed to adhering to the explicit mandates of the Treaty. (i.e., that inflation is the paramount, singular determinant for setting monetary policy. So the argument that "rates look to low historically" is somewhat strange)

PARIS (MNI) - The interest rate increase signaled by the European
Central Bank, likely to come on Thursday, is intended mainly to begin
steering its ultra-low policy rate towards non-crisis territory,
according to well-placed Eurozone monetary officials.

That suggests other interest rate hikes will follow, though not
necessarily at a rapid pace, given the uncertainty surrounding Japan and
the still volatile situation in Portugal, Ireland and Greece, these
officials told Market News International in conversations that took
place in late March and early April.

"One should not look too much at interest rates from an inflation
perspective," said a senior Eurosystem source. "The main point is the
medium-term normalization of policy. It is quite obvious 1% is a level
of rates decided in a crisis."

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