Les médias français et les économistes n’ont pas entendu la même chose en écoutant la conférence de presse de Mario Draghi. Les premiers sont restés très factuels, ou ont souligné les pistes de réflexion engagées par l’institution monétaire pour stimuler l’économie européenne autrement que par l’arme des taux d’intérêt.
[cleeng_content id= »704843073″ description= »Plus d\’analyses et de commentaires à découvrir… » price= »0.19″ t= »article » referral= »0.05″]Les économistes de banque ont eux clairement compris qu’une baisse des taux était envisagée pour le mois de mai, en fonction notamment de l’évolution des résultats des prochains enquêtes de confiance auprès des agents économiques. Citons Dirk Schumacher, économiste chez Goldman Sachs:
« …the ECB’s Governing Council opened the door to a rate cut should the Euro area economy show further signs of weakening. Whether rates will indeed be cut at the May meeting therefore depends, we think, on how the data pan out over the next month, especially the crucial business surveys, which are treated by the ECB (and us) as timely and important conjunctural indicators. Were business sentiment to rebound in May as we expect (in line with our macroeconomic forecasts), we would not expect rates to be cut. Hence, we maintain our existing baseline forecast of unchanged policy rates. But a further decline in business sentiment would, in our view, lead the Governing Council to act, cutting the repo rate (but not the depo rate) and thereby narrowing the interest rate corridor. »
Sur les mesures non conventionnelles, Astrid Schilo, économiste chez Exane BNP Paribas souligne le délicat équilibre entre l’annonce de nouvelles mesures non conventionnelles pour aider au financement des économies périphériques de la zone euro et le risque d’aléa moral (mutualisation des dettes).
« Refis / collateral rules
The problem is that the collateralised loan market is small. Furthermore, some loans can already be accepted by some central banks, but this works better in some countries than in others. In our view, the ECB could still attempt to create a loan market (or collateralised loan market) – this would of course work better if the Eurosystem moved to outright purchases.
Outright purchase: remember the ECB’s two covered bond market programmes
The ECB has already undertaken two covered bond market purchase programmes in 2009 / 2012 and 2011/ 2012, for which the combined current outstanding value is EUR 63.5bn. As such, this is not unchartered territory for the ECB. However, it appears that sensitivity in terms of risk mutualisation has increased. Note that covered bond purchases were initially on national central banks’ balance sheets, although they were subsequently mutualised. Besides the mutualisation risk, there is of course the issue that in certain countries, the loan market may be very thin. So the ECB would have to take it upon itself to create a deeper market.
We also note that there are increasingly calls for national Central Banks to become more involved in financing their economies, as opposed to the Eurosystem. While this may be a pragmatic approach, we find that it undermines the very idea of the monetary union; i.e. the same monetary policy stance for every member state.
Co-operating with fiscal side – this may be the way forward
Mr Draghi himself mentioned the potential involvement of the EIB. Indeed, in our view, co-operation between the monetary and fiscal bodies may be the way out. One idea is that the EIB buys loans, which it could then use in refinancing operations with the ECB. A potential problem here could still be the haircut that would have to be applied when the ECB accepts the loan collateral. Perhaps some of the collateral risk could be transferred to the ESM. This of course would be another form of risk mutualisation, but at least openly on the fiscal side and not hidden through Central Bank action. If risk mutualisation is not wished for in the Eurozone, national central banks would have to work with their own governments on lending schemes. The ECB / Eurosystem would not be involved.
Outright asset / government bond purchase as disinflation hits
This may sound like a long way off, but in a way it is the “cleanest”, albeit bold solution. Asset purchases are in the ECB’s monetary policy toolbox, especially when it hits the zero lower bound. The current economic situation would not warrant such a bold move. However, if inflation fell by more than forecast (current ECB projection 1.3% in 2014), the ECB could claim that price stability was threatened. It could then buy government bonds. And of course, given where bunds trade, it would not be German debt but the periphery that the ECB / Eurosystem would purchase.
The ECB could deflect any mutualisation criticism by proclaiming that its purchases are not pari-passu, and that the ECB would not participate in any debt restructuring, as was the case with the Greek PSI. This would have the inconvenience that any private sector bail-in on the remaining debt in private hands would have to be bigger than otherwise. As such, the purchase would have to be big enough to reassure the private sector, or otherwise risk undermining the OMT effect. »[/cleeng_content]