ECB: Asset purchases seem to be quite open-ended - BBH


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Research Team at BBH notes that the investors continued to digest the ECB's announcements yesterday. 

Key Quotes

“Following the Federal Reserve, tapering is meant to imply a slowing of purchases toward an ending of them.  What the ECB announced yesterday was most definitely not that.  In fact, the asset purchases seem to be quite open-ended.  Consider that the staff forecast of 1.7% for 2019 inflation was rejected by Draghi as insufficient to discharge the ECB's duty.  Draghi repeatedly and vociferously denied the ECB was tapering.”

“The reduction of the monthly purchases could reflect at least two forces.  First, it could have been a small price to get some of the creditors, like Germany, to go along.  This is desirable even if not necessary.  It does not give up much.  In fact, the ECB will buy 540 bln euro of bonds instead of the 480 bln the market had expected (9*60 > 6*80).  By the end of next year, the ECB's balance sheet will be about 40% of GDP.  Second, by reducing the amount, the ECB could help alleviate some shortage pressure.”

“Long rates rose in Europe yesterday and are higher today.  Some are arguing that buying 20 bln less a month is a material force.  At the same time, the rules were adjusted that allowed the ECB to buy bonds with yields lower than the deposit rate.  That means that the short end of the curves may find a better bid. Today, two-year peripheral yields are lower while rates in the core are slightly firmer.”

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