Only the European Central Bank (ECB) had a scheduled monetary policy announcement this week, but that didn’t stop the head honchos of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), Bank of Canada (BOC), and Bank of England (BOE) from giving speeches! What did they have to say anyway?
RBA’s Glenn Stevens
Glenn Stevens’ speech was scheduled right after the RBA printed its meeting minutes. Since the release contained warnings against the strong Aussie affecting the economy’s recovery, market players were expecting a bit of jawboning from the central bank President.
Instead, Stevens talked about the limitations of using low interest rates in boosting economic activity. More specifically, he said that monetary policy alone has been unable to boost growth at the right pace and that policies other than ultra-cheap borrowing costs are needed.
The head honcho hinted at using central bank money to directly finance government projects though he also cautioned that there are reasons why the idea has been taboo since 1980s. Still, he emphasized that the mere fact that these options are being openly talked about underscore the limits of central bank tools in boosting growth.
BOE’s Mark Carney
In his speech before the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee on Tuesday, Carney gave his two cents on the U.K.’s Brexit vote and the option of “helicopter money.”
Much like Glenn Stevens, Carney isn’t a fan of printing money. He says it’s a “compounded Ponzi scheme” where central banks essentially cancel debt that is purchased from the government and creates holes in its balance sheet. On negative interest rates, the central bank Chief said that he and his team could still lower rates but have not committed to putting the idea on the table.
The BOE President also gave snippets about the economy. He believes that the U.K.’s current account deficit is “one of the vulnerabilities of the U.K.” and that concerns over China are considerable. He was positive about the labor market though, saying that the longer working hours have boosted the market.
When asked about the BOE’s stance on the upcoming Brexit vote, Carney was firm in his distancing the central bank from politics. He said that it’s the BOE’s job to assess and report the risks involved with such a possibility, but is not in the position to make an “overall assessment” of the economics of the U.K.’s EU membership.
BOC’s Stephen Poloz
Speaking before the House of Commons finance committee, Poloz mostly echoed the BOC’s latest monetary policy assessment.
He said that there are still some missing elements in order to reach a sustainable growth following the sharp drop in energy prices. For trading newbies out there, you should know that Canada is one of the biggest exporters of the Black Crack.
Poloz pointed out that the weaknesses in resource industries investment, decline in national income, household spending, and job losses in the resource sector have outweighed the positive impact of lower energy costs for households and businesses.
On a positive note, he pointed out that the non-resource economy continues to grow at a moderate pace and that related exports are expected to gather momentum.
ECB’s Mario Draghi
As widely expected, the ECB decided to keep its policies steady as the members wait for their previous policy changes to take effect.
The rate on the main refinancing operations, the marginal lending facility, and the deposit facility remain unchanged at 0.00%, 0.25% and -0.40% respectively while the QE program is kept at 80 billion EUR per month. Just like Ke$ha though, the party didn’t start ‘till Mario Draghi walked in.
In his press conference, Draghi warned that risks to economic growth remain “tilted to the downside” and that interest rates will stay low “beyond the horizon of the asset purchase programme.” He also advised market players to expect low (and even negative) inflation for the foreseeable future. Talk about painting a grim picture!
Draghi also spent time defending the ECB’s latest decisions. Now that he and his gang are focusing on implementing their recent policy changes, Draghi asked to give the policies “time to display their effects” as he’s confident that they are effective.
The crescendo of Draghi’s presser was his dig at German officials. In an unusually impassioned speech, he said that they “obey the law, not politicians” and that criticisms against the ECB are counterproductive.
This comes after Germany’s officials increasingly blame the ECB’s low rates for punishing savers into taking more risks. Instead, Draghi asked for cooperation from local and national governments, hinting that monetary stimulus can only do so much.
There you have it, folks! Hope you learned a thing or two about the central bankers’ biases today!