The European Central Bank (ECB) is once again turning on the money press. For the first time since 2015, a new comprehensive program is announced to stimulate the economy of the euro zone. Experts expect the ECB to stimulate the European economy for a long time to come.
"They have done everything," concludes Carsten Brzeski, chief economist at ING. "I think it is a bit at all costs." Breszki refers to 2012 when ECB president Mario Draghi made it clear to financial markets that the ECB would do anything to keep the euro zone together.
Brzeski also notes that all measures have no intended end date, as was communicated with the earlier programs.
In the interest rate decision, for example, the ECB says it will continue with the new buy-up program until the targets are met. "Everything is back in the window. And you can raise it again any time."
But the question is whether this can reduce economic growth in the euro zone. It is slowing down. So much so that a recession threatens in Germany due to malaise in the industry. And with lower economic growth, inflation is also falling.
Fear of long period of stagnation
But there is no real crisis. The last time the ECB took such measures was the crisis. Is this policy justified? "Within the logic of the ECB," says Brzeski. "You see that growth is decreasing. You see that inflation and also inflation estimates are decreasing. And then it is necessary that you intervene. The fear is more that we will end up in a long period of stagnation."
According to Bas van Geffen of Rabobank, the current package mainly sends the message that Draghi and policy makers do not want to dwell on low inflation and low inflation expectations. In terms of size, the package is also smaller than what was announced in 2015, "but it is great in fact that it now has an open end".
ECB buying up for a few more years
For example, buying up government bonds is linked to raising interest rates at the ECB. Only a few moments before the interest rate is raised will the ECB stop buying up. But market followers now expect that it may take years before interest rates rise.
"It can therefore take a few years before the ECB stops making purchases. On the other hand, they still have the room that if the eurozone economy starts to turn around better they can all turn it back."