Pubblicato in: Banche Centrali, Finanza e Sistema Bancario, Unione Europea

Draghi. I margini di manovra si restringono.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2016-12-09.

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Il discorso di Mario Draghi è capibile per quello che voleva effettivamente dire solo dopo aver esaminato con la massima cura la mappa su riportata. Altrimenti non avrebbe senso.

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Il cuore del discorso è racchiuso in un enunciato che al momento è chiaramente utopico, e che solo il futuro turmoil potrà rendere attuabile:

«Reforms must be undertaken regardless of political uncertainty»

Senza riforme tutto è vano. Se le prossime elezioni politiche non cambiassero l’establishment attualmente al potere, il castello di carta crollerebbe.

Ma non ci si può illudere che i nuovi governanti replichino le politiche dei precedenti.

Il resto è discorso di circostanza. La riduzione a 60 miliardi mensili di interventi è invece chiaro segno dell’inizio di esaurimento delle scorte.

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«ECB president sets new QE end-date with option to extend again»

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«Balance sheet to expand to almost 40 percent of euro-area GDP»

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«Reforms must be undertaken regardless of political uncertainty»

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«$2.4 Trillion Stimulus May Not Be Enough for ECB»

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«Bond buying extended to end-2017 at 60 billion euros a month»

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«Central bank sees inflation still short of goal even in 2019»

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«He also declined to answer a question on press reports that Italy will ask for a 15 billion-euro ($15.9 billion) loan from the European Stability Mechanism to help Monte Paschi and other weak banks, instead citing an ESM guideline on the issue»

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Prudentemente, Draghi non si è voluto esprimere sul modo in cui salvare Monte Paschi Siena.

Si noti come dall’iniziale miliardo si sia saliti a cinque ed adesso a quindici. Ma ne servirebbero almeno un centinaio.

La parola “negromantica” “ESM” inizia a circolare con troppa insistenza, e nessuno pudicamente vorrebbe ricordarne le conseguenze.

Nota.

Fino al 23 ottobre 1929 la gente mangiava, beveva, dormiva, faceva affari, si sposava e si divorziava, il tutto in spensierata allegria. Sberleffiava i prudenti, irrideva i critici. Era convinta che il futuro sarebbe stato identico al passato.

«La grande depressione, detta anche crisi del 1929, grande crisi o crollo di Wall Street, fu una grave crisi economica e finanziaria che sconvolse l’economia mondiale alla fine degli anni venti, con forti ripercussioni durante i primi anni del decennio successivo. La depressione ebbe origine da contraddizioni simili a quelle che avevano portato alla crisi economica del 1873-1895: l’inizio si ebbe negli Stati Uniti con la crisi del New York Stock Exchange (la borsa di Wall Street) avvenuta il 24 ottobre del 1929 (giovedì nero), cui fece seguito il definitivo crollo (crash) della borsa valori del 29 ottobre (martedì nero) dopo anni di boom azionario.

La depressione ebbe effetti recessivi devastanti sia nei paesi industrializzati sia in quelli esportatori di materie prime con un calo generalizzato della domanda e della produzione. Il commercio internazionale diminuì considerevolmente e con esso i redditi dei lavoratori, il reddito fiscale, i prezzi e i profitti. Le maggiori città di tutto il mondo furono duramente colpite, in special modo quelle che basavano la loro economia sull’industria pesante. Il settore edilizio subì un brusco arresto in molti paesi. Le aree agricole e rurali soffrirono considerevolmente in conseguenza di un crollo dei prezzi fra il 40 e il 60%. Le zone minerarie e forestali furono tra le più colpite a causa della forte diminuzione della domanda e delle ridotte alternative d’impiego occupazionale.» [Fonte]

 


Ansa. 2016-12-08. Bce lascia tassi invariati, allunga Qe

La Banca centrale europea ha deciso di prolungare il quantitative easing fino a dicembre 2017 “o oltre, se necessario”: lo comunica l’Eurotower, che manterrà stabile a 80 miliardi al mese il ritmo di acquisti di debito del quantitative easing fino a marzo: da aprile 2017 fino a dicembre 2017 gli acquisti continueranno, ma al ritmo di 60 miliardi al mese. Da aprile a dicembre 2017 il Qe scenderà al ritmo di 60 miliardi al mese di acquisto di debito. Ma “se le condizioni lo richiederanno la Bce intende aumentare il programma in termini di dimensioni e/o durata”.  

La Bce ha anche lasciato invariati i tassi d’interesse: il tasso principale rimane fermo al minimo storico dello 0,00%, quello sui depositi bancari a -0,40% e quello di rifinanziamento marginale a 0,25%.

Il presidente Mario Draghi ha escluso che la Bce stia aiutando il bilancio italiano con la sua politica monetaria, come accusano alcuni in Germania: “no, ovviamente no. Non siamo di parte”.

Ha annunciato che da gennaio la Bce potrà acquistare bond con una scadenza residua fino a un minimo di un anno, contro i due anni vigenti come limite minimo. L’istituto acquistare titoli di Stato con rendimento anche inferiore al tasso sui depositi, pari al -0,4% e che oggi rappresenta il limite minimo. Questa possibilità ci sarà “nella misura” in cui ciò si renderà necessario.

Per quanto riguarda le stime di crescita per l’Eurozona: per il 2016 Francoforte ora si aspetta un +1,7% come nella previsione formulata a settembre, per il 2017 +1,7% da +1,6% e per il 2018 a +1,6%. Pubblicata per la prima volta la stima sul 2019, a +1,6%.

“Non vediamo rischi per la tenuta dell’euro” dalla crisi politica italiana, ha detto Draghi, spiegando che le condizioni sono molto cambiate rispetto a pochi anni fa, quando il contagio fra Paesi dell’Eurozona in caso di instabilità era frequente. 

 


Bloomberg. 2016-12-08. Draghi’s Anti-Taper Keeps ECB Stimulus Live to Tackle 2017 Risks

– ECB president sets new QE end-date with option to extend again

– Balance sheet to expand to almost 40 percent of euro-area GDP

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Mario Draghi’s message to investors on the future of his quantitative-easing program on Thursday could have been boiled down to three words: less is more.

Strenuously denying a “taper” is in place — or was even discussed by policy makers — the European Central Bank president cut the institution’s monthly bond buying to 60 billion euros ($64 billion) from 80 billion euros. He also added three more months of purchasing than economists expected, and followed up by saying quantitative easing is essentially open-ended and inflation will remain too feeble well past the supposed new end-date.

That mixed message sent investors scattering in different directions, with some focused on the near-term curtailment of QE and others hailing the additional injection of liquidity. But ultimately, the 1.14 trillion-euro program that started in 2015 has now morphed into a buying spree of at least 2.28 trillion euros that could help shield investors through the political minefield of European elections next year.

“Draghi has rightfully put the focus on expanding the balance-sheet size,” said Marchel Alexandrovich, senior European economist at Jefferies International Ltd. in London. “QE is still indefinite, with no tapering in sight.”

Moreover, even when monthly bond buying ceases, the impact on the balance sheet will stick around for a long time. For evidence, look at the U.S. Federal Reserve. Three years after it announced the start of the original “taper” for its own QE plan, the Fed’s total assets have barely budged from its record of $4.5 trillion, or almost a quarter of gross domestic product.

Sustained Presence

The ECB’s latest announcement will, all else being equal, boost its balance sheet to 4.1 trillion euros, or almost 40 percent of euro-area output.

“The extension of our purchases over a longer horizon allows for a more sustained market presence and, therefore, a more lasting transmission of our stimulus measures,” Draghi said at a press conference in Frankfurt. The aim is to “preserve the very substantial amount of monetary support that is necessary in order to secure a return of inflation rates toward levels that are below, but close to, 2 percent without undue delay.”

He backed up his message by noting that fresh economic projections showing consumer-price growth will average 1.7 percent in 2019 are “not really” in line with that goal.

Never mind that. Government bonds sold off as traders focused on the cut to the monthly flow as a sign that the ECB bowed to the wishes of its more conservative Governing Council members. That’s even though Draghi also unveiled technical changes allowing the ECB to buy shorter-dated debt as well as bonds yielding less than the deposit rate — a previous constraint.

Taper Walk

“If it waddles like a taper and quacks like a taper, then it probably is a taper,” said Richard Barwell, an economist at BNP Paribas Investment Partners in London. “The technical tweaks aren’t the major changes in design they would need to implement if they intended to carry on buying for the foreseeable future. The Bundesbank didn’t need to ask for a taper because it got one in all but name.”

If there’s an argument for easing the pressure on the monetary accelerator even slightly, it’s that recent economic data in the euro area has been pretty encouraging. Purchasing-manager indexes and confidence surveys rose in November, pointing to faster growth in the fourth quarter. That performance is helping dispel concerns that political risks such as the U.K.’s exit from the European Union or any onset of protectionism following the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president will damp output.

In managing to respond to the brightening outlook, while keeping stimulus in place for longer should further risks materialize, Draghi has pulled off a “really, really clever” feat, according to Tim Graf, head of macro strategy at State Street Bank & Trust Co. in London.

“The main goal seems to have been for us not to have to be talking about ECB tapering during some of the most important elections in Europe,” he said. “They bought themselves nine more months of keeping their options open.”


Bloomberg. 2016-12-08. Draghi Says Italy Must Address Weaknesses No Matter What Happens

– European Central Bank president asked about his native country

– Reforms must be undertaken regardless of political uncertainty

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European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said that Italy will have to undertake economic reforms, no matter what the outcome of the country’s political crisis.

“The vulnerabilities that both the banking system and Italy have, have been there for a long time,” Draghi said at a press conference in Frankfurt on Thursday. “So they ought to be coped with, and I am confident the government knows what to do, and they will be dealt with.”

The euro area’s third-largest economy is facing political turmoil after voters’ rejection of a constitutional overhaul prompted reformist Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to resign. The country’s political leaders are starting discussions that may lead to the appointment of a technocratic government and early elections.

“Countries that need reforms have to undertake them regardless of what is the general political uncertainty because the best way for countries to cope with this uncertainty is actually to restore growth and employment and job creation,” Draghi said in his press conference.

Bank Pressure

The country’s return to political crisis has rekindled pressure on its financial institutions, particularly on Banco Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, the only lender to fail a Europe-wide stress test this year. The ECB’s Supervisory Board discussed Monte Paschi’s request to delay its recapitalization on Thursday, the first day of a two-day meeting.

Asked about the beleaguered lender’s situation, Draghi didn’t answer, referring to the separation principle between ECB monetary-policy and supervision functions. He also declined to answer a question on press reports that Italy will ask for a 15 billion-euro ($15.9 billion) loan from the European Stability Mechanism to help Monte Paschi and other weak banks, instead citing an ESM guideline on the issue.

Even so, addressing the country’s political uncertainty he reaffirmed the central bank’s intention to act as a stabilizing presence for the euro area.

“The underlying narrative of our monetary-policy decisions was exactly to maintain the extraordinary degree of monetary accommodation we have in place,” Draghi said in response to a question on Italy’s reliance on the ECB’s stimulus. “The second purpose is to transmit a sense that the presence of the ECB on the markets will be there for a long time.”


Bloomberg. 2016-12-08. Draghi Says $2.4 Trillion Stimulus May Not Be Enough for ECB

– Bond buying extended to end-2017 at 60 billion euros a month

– Central bank sees inflation still short of goal even in 2019

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Mario Draghi warned that the region’s feeble inflation outlook means European Central Bank stimulus won’t end any time soon.

“The presence of the ECB on markets will be there for a long time,” the institution’s president said in Frankfurt after the Governing Council agreed to add more than half a trillion euros to its bond-buying program and extend it until at least the end of 2017. Quantitative easing is “in a sense open-ended, it’s state-contingent,” he said.

Draghi cited weak underlying price pressures, political uncertainties and inadequate government reforms as he laid out the reasons for expanding the ECB’s asset-purchase plan to at least 2.3 trillion euros ($2.4 trillion). He and his colleagues have frequently stressed that the euro area’s economic upturn is largely reliant on continued monetary easing as governments fail to play their part.

“I heard a dovish message,” said Holger Sandte, senior European economist at Nordea Markets in Copenhagen. “He’s basically saying that the next tapering is coming only in 2018.”

The market reaction suggested confusion among investors, who initially focused on a reduction in bond buying to 60 billion euros a month starting in April from 80 billion euros currently — interpreting the ECB as being hawkish. The euro was down 1.4 percent at $1.0606 at 5:21 p.m. Frankfurt time, while German 10-year bonds climbed to the highest since January and two-year notes rallied before giving up gains.

Draghi said new staff economic projections showing euro-area inflation averaging 1.7 percent in 2019 were “not really” close to the central bank’s goal of just under 2 percent. He also reiterated the ECB’s line that the economic outlook remains subject to downside risks.

Most economists surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted QE would be prolonged after March at the current pace for about six months. While the Governing Council considered such a scenario, there was “very broad consensus” for the option that prevailed. The ECB kept its main refinancing rate unchanged at zero and the deposit rate at minus 0.4 percent and didn’t discuss tapering — or a phased reduction of bond purchases to zero.

“The ECB and Mario Draghi did their best to confuse markets by feeding both the hawks and the doves,” said Jim Smigiel, chief investment officer for alternative strategies at SEI Investments. “We see the market’s obsession with a ‘taper’ as being misplaced and view this as a strong commitment to the current extraordinary monetary policy.”

The extension will be accompanied by adjustments to the program’s rules, a move necessary to avoid running out of assets to buy. Central banks will be allowed to buy debt with a yield below the deposit rate, previously a minimum eligibility requirement. The minimum duration of debt was lowered to one year from two years.

Issue Limits

Many economists had also predicted the ECB would increase the share of bonds it could buy to as much as 50 percent. Most issue and issuer limits are set at 33 percent. Draghi cited “an increasing awareness of legal and institutional constraints” for not taking that step.

He reiterated his call for governments to implement structural reforms that can cement the recovery, saying that political concerns are no excuse. Germany, France and the Netherlands all have elections in 2017, following on from political upsets in the U.K. and Italy — as well as the U.S. — this year.

“Countries that need reforms need to undertake them regardless of what is the general political uncertainty,” he said. “The best way to deal with uncertainty is to restore growth, job creation.”

While Draghi said the risk of deflation has largely disappeared, annual price growth is still only 0.6 percent. Inflation hasn’t been in line with the ECB’s goal since early 2013, with forecasts repeatedly being lowered. With that in mind, Draghi said policy makers haven’t discussed how they would react to better-than-expected economic data.

“We seem to be far away from any such high-class problem.” he said. “There are no signs yet of a convincing upward trend in underlying inflation.”

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