Frankfurt / Main (dpa) - The corona pandemic is slowing the normalization of interest rates in Europe for years, according to the Frankfurt banker Emmerich Müller.
“The interest rate level was unattractive for investors even before the pandemic, real interest rates have been negative for years.
The probability that interest rates will rise is now even less than before the pandemic, ”said the partner of the Frankfurt banking house Metzler, founded in 1674, of the German press agency.
"Real interest rates cannot be expected to rise for long periods of time - even a decade."
The real interest rate is the interest rate for savings after deducting the rate of inflation.
The European Central Bank (ECB) confirmed its expansionary monetary policy course in January.
The central bank's emergency purchase program for government bonds and securities from companies (Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program / PEPP) with a volume of 1.85 trillion euros will run until at least the end of March 2022.
The key interest rate in the euro area has been at a record low of zero percent for almost five years.
ECB President Christine Lagarde had confirmed the determination of the monetary authorities to continue to ensure “favorable financing conditions”.
The environment is a challenge for investors.
There are large investors, "who are desperately looking for returns," said Müller.
«What are all the pension funds supposed to do that have promised solid old-age provision for employees and retirees?
Of course, this ensures rising prices for assets, especially real estate and stocks. "
In general, however, he sees “no price bubbles yet, even if there are individual cases in which one can critically question a high valuation”, summarized Müller.
The issues of climate change and environmental protection are becoming increasingly important in investments.
The topic of sustainability "has definitely arrived in the financial sector," said Müller.
"Nobody can ignore this topic."
The Metzler partner explained: "There are hardly any institutional customers who do not have to invest in some form in the long term. A certain pressure has arisen."
Overall, he sees the financial sector well prepared for the topic of sustainability.
«What bothers me on the subject are sweeping judgments.
To accuse a bank of financing companies related to coal, for example, is very dubious.
Basically, this is initially a decision of the respective government, ”said Müller.
Müller is skeptical of the fact that ECB President Lagarde wants to give climate protection more weight to the central bank.
“I have great doubts whether climate protection is one of the tasks of a central bank.
Central banks must not be overloaded with too many tasks.
The ECB should have a clear mandate, ”said the Metzler partner.
"The follow-up costs of the pandemic will be with us for a long time," predicted Müller.
“There will probably be another discussion about inequality in our country, and the demand for a wealth tax will come up again.
People tend to forget that we are all already bearing today's burdens in the form of negative interest rates. "
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210130-99-231417 / 2