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ECB action early next year?

Thursday, December 04, 2014 - 02:25

Mario Draghi says the European Central Bank will take a view early next year on whether it needs to take more action to revive the euro zone. David Pollard reports.

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It was Mario Draghi's first press conference at the ECB's shiny new headquarters. With his not-so-new tactic of giving a promise of action, not action itself. What is different: a big hint on timing. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK PRESIDENT MARIO DRAGHI SAYING: ''Early next year the Governing Council will reassess the monetary stimulus achieved ... Should it become necessary to further address risks of too prolonged a period of low inflation, the Governing Council remains unanimous in its commitment to using additional unconventional instruments within its mandate.'' And one of those instruments could be further bond buying - or QE. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK PRESIDENT MARIO DRAGHI SAYING: "We certainly discussed various options of QE [quantitative easing], and more work is needed and certainly we will keep you informed." Draghi also presented the latest ECB forecasts. As expected, growth next year is revised down. Inflation is seen at 0.7 per cent - though even that could be optimistic given its latest 0.3 percent reading. Even so, it's easy to overdo the gloom, says Ashburton fund manager, Jonathan Schiessl. SOUNDBITE (English) JONATHAN SCHIESSL, FUND MANAGER, ASHBURTON, SAYING: ''People have been overly bearish about the euro zone economy. Sure, there are issues and stresses and worries, but I think if you'll look back with hindsight, then probably people have been jumping on the doomsday bandwagon.'' Bank Of New York Mellon's chief currency strategist, Simon Derrick, also sees bright spots. ''Europe net net imports more oil than the U.S. does and therefore the sharp declines that we have seen over the last six months is actually giving euro zone consumers a little more spending power.'' Where storm clouds could gather is around a policy of full QE itself. Much of Europe wants it - but Germany's against it ... for now. SOUNDBITE (English) JONATHAN SCHIESSL, FUND MANAGER, ASHBURTON, SAYING: ''If the ECB pushes it through on a majority, it's difficult to see what something like the Bundesbank would do without causing major friction within the euro zone and I think, quite honestly, would the German government countenance that? No, they wouldn't.'' ECB rates have almost been forgotten amid the QE talk. They were kept on hold at 0.05 per cent for the main refi, -0.2 for the deposit facility.

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ECB action early next year?

Thursday, December 04, 2014 - 02:25