Thursday, December 4, 2008

ECB lowers rates by 75 basis points to 2.5 percent in December 2008

From the introductory statement:
Looking further ahead, on the basis of our current analysis and assessment, we see global economic weakness and very sluggish domestic demand persisting in the next few quarters. ...Eurosystem staff project annual real GDP growth of between 0.8% and 1.2% for 2008, between -1.0% and 0.0% for 2009, and between 0.5% and 1.5% for 2010. These figures represent substantial downward revisions relative to the previous ECB staff projections for 2008 and 2009 published in September.

Consistent with this assessment, the December 2008 Eurosystem staff projections foresee annual HICP inflation of between 3.2% and 3.4% for 2008 and declining to between 1.1% and 1.7% for 2009. For 2010, HICP inflation is projected to lie between 1.5% and 2.1%. The HICP inflation projections for 2008 and 2009 have been revised downwards substantially in relation to the September 2008 ECB staff projections, reflecting mainly the large declines in commodity prices and the impact of weakening demand on price developments.
Looking through the shorter-term volatility in headline HICP inflation rates, risks to price stability at the policy-relevant horizon are more balanced than in the past.

On monetary analysis:
It should be recognized that the intensification of the financial market turmoil since mid-September marks a potential watershed in the evolution of monetary developments. The most recent money and credit data indicate that this intensification has had a significant impact on the behavior of market participants. Thus far, such developments have largely taken the form of substitution among components of the broad aggregate M3, rather than sharp changes in the evolution of M3 itself.

The latest available data, namely up to the end of October, reveal a continued moderation of the growth rate of loans to the non-financial private sector. At the same time, for the euro area as a whole, there were no significant indications of a drying up in the availability of loans. The annual growth rate of loans to households also moderated further, in line with the weakening of economic and housing market prospects and tighter financing conditions. The data do signal an impact of the intensification of the financial turmoil on bank behavior. Looking forward, more data and further analysis are necessary to form a robust judgment.

A few thoughts from JCT's press conference:
"situation in money markets is tense"
"it is a global phenomenon"

"bank lending surveys clear indicate hardening (conditions)"
"published figures show loans to non financials 11.9 pc increase in Oct08 vs 12.1 in Sep08. Growth remains very impressive. But acceleration of previously committed credit lines and (other factors) are important."

Trichet makes the distinction between deflation and disinflation:
"Today we are not in a deflationary period."

click for video

source: Introductory statement

Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the ECB,
Lucas Papademos, Vice President of the ECB
Brussels, 4 December 2008

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