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Posts Tagged ‘European Central Bank’

The Eurozone Is Going down the Same Stagnating Road as Japan | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on September 20, 2021

Countries like Italy, Spain, Portugal, or Greece cannot survive stagnation due to elevated levels of unemployment and the small size of the business fabric. Therefore, the ECB seems to ignore the risks of perpetuating the perverse incentives to bloat government spending and debt.

https://mises.org/wire/eurozone-going-down-same-stagnating-road-japan

Daniel Lacalle

The European Central Bank announced a tapering of the repurchase program on September 9. One would imagine that this is a sensible idea given the recent rise in inflation in the eurozone to the highest level in a decade and the allegedly strong recovery of the economy. However, there is a big problem. The announcement is not really tapering, but simply adjusting to a lower net supply of bonds from sovereign issuers. In fact, considering the pace announced by the central bank, the ECB will continue to purchase 100 percent of all net issuance from sovereigns. https://www.youtube.com/embed/bXBFrWXPMjQ?feature=oembed

There are several problems in this strategy. The first one is that the ECB is unwillingly acknowledging that there is no real secondary market demand for eurozone countries’ sovereign debt at these yields. One would have to think of twice or three times the current yield for investors to accept many eurozone bonds if the ECB does not repurchase them. This is obviously a dangerous bubble.

The second problem is that the ECB acknowledges that monetary policy has gone from being a tool to help implement structural reforms to a tool to avoid them. Even with the strong GDP bounce that the ECB predicts, few governments are willing to reduce spending and curb deficits in a meaningful way. The ECB estimates show that after the massive deficit spending of 2020, eurozone government spending will rise again by 3.4 percent in 2021 only to fall modestly by 1.2 percent in 2022. This means that eurozone government spending will consolidate the covid pandemic increase with little improvement in the fiscal position of most countries. Indeed, countries like Spain and Italy have increased the structural deficit.

The third problem is that negative rates and high liquidity injections combined with elevated government spending have generated no real multiplier effect in the eurozone. We must remember that the main economies were in stagnation already in the fourth quarter of 2019, before the pandemic and despite large stimulus plans like the Juncker Plan, which mobilized hundreds of billions of euros in investments.

The fourth challenge for the ECB is that it acknowledges being trapped by its own policy, it cannot stop it and normalize because governments and markets would suffer, and it cannot keep the current pace because inflation is putting even more pressure on growth.

The final challenge for the eurozone and the ECB is that they continue to implement policies that ignore demographics and structural burdens to growth. The eurozone has an aging population and monetary and fiscal policies seem to ignore the evidence of changing consumption patterns when citizens reach a certain age or retire. If we add to demographics a taxation system that increasingly hurts middle classes, businesses, and investment, we face an economy that seems to be following all the wrong policies that Japan implemented at the beginning of the ’90s.

As Japan did, the eurozone is betting all on government spending, chains of stimulus packages driven by political directions, and massive debt monetization. However, the eurozone does not have the disciplined labor force that Japan has nor the elevated levels of corporate and household savings that allow the country to continue in stagnation for decades.

Countries like Italy, Spain, Portugal, or Greece cannot survive stagnation due to elevated levels of unemployment and the small size of the business fabric. Therefore, the ECB seems to ignore the risks of perpetuating the perverse incentives to bloat government spending and debt. All messages concerning structural reforms and real growth initiatives have disappeared in favor of directed stimulus plans that never deliver. Our duty as economists is to warn of the more than likely scenario of poor recovery, low productivity, and high debt that the eurozone faces. Fiscal multipliers have been negative for too long for us to ignore the negative crowding-out effect of high government spending and the erosion of competitiveness that the economy faces. Author:

Daniel Lacalle

Daniel Lacalle, PhD, economist and fund manager, is the author of the bestselling books Freedom or Equality (2020),Escape from the Central Bank Trap (2017), The Energy World Is Flat (2015), and Life in the Financial Markets (2014).

He is a professor of global economy at IE Business School in Madrid.

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The Dangers Lurking behind a Digital Euro | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on February 27, 2021

https://mises.org/wire/dangers-lurking-behind-digital-euro

Thorsten Polleit

Neosocialist China does it, Sweden does it, and many other states want to do it, too: to issue digitized central bank money for everyone. The European Central Bank (ECB) is also working on such a scheme. It wants to launch “digital euro central bank money” as soon as possible. Many economists praise the project as an “innovation,” as an important and indispensable step in an increasingly digitized world.

The ECB is also keen to make its intentions known, declaring that a digital euro will be accessible for everyone, robust, secure, efficient, and compliant with applicable law. However, it should be clear that the path to becoming a surveillance state regime will accelerate considerably if and when a digital euro is issued. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

A digital euro is not “better money” than the euro that is already in circulation today. The planned digital euro is fiat money, just as much as euro cash and euro bank balances represent fiat money: they are all created “out of nothing” by the ECB, which has the monopoly of euro production. Just as is the case with the existing euro, the quantity of digital euros can be increased at any time, it is backed by nothing, and the digital euro carries a 100 percent risk of devaluation. As noted earlier, a digital euro would be a fiat euro.

The digital euro can either be “account based”—you keep it in an account held with the ECB—or it can be “token based”—money users receive a “token” that can be transferred from smartphone to smartphone via an app. Hoping for “anonymity” in payment transactions would be futile in both cases, one has to fear.

A look at China probably shows where the journey is headed: the Chinese digital central bank money is supposed to have a “controlled anonymity.” In other words, “only” the People’s Bank of China—that is, the Chinese Communist Party—should have access to the payment transaction data.

The ECB says the digital euro is a “complement” to cash and bank balances. But that’s not convincing. Because those who pay in cash obviously find it convenient and want to ensure their anonymity. Otherwise, they would pay electronically, i.e., transfer balances through PayPal, Apple Pay, or debit or credit cards.

In this context, it should be noted that people don’t just hold cash for payment purposes. They also demand it to protect themselves against bank failures, for example, or they also hold cash to be liquid even in the event of power outages, to be independent of online banking.

That said, the suspicion that the ECB is more interested in taking cash out of circulation cannot be refuted easily. But if only electronic payments are possible, what little remains of “financial privacy” will be gone. The citizen becomes completely transparent, much to the liking of the state and its beneficiaries.

As soon as cash has been pushed back or stripped away entirely, monetary policymakers can implement an uninhibited negative interest rate policy to devalue debt. Customers can no longer get out of the “bank balance sheet”; the final escape door is then locked. 

It is unlikely that a digital euro will prevail naturally against cash. Rather, the ECB will have to make the use of cash unattractive: by raising the costs of cash by increasing fees at ATMs or through upper limits for cash payments, or through social stigmatization of cash (keywords: money laundering, terrorist financing, etc.).

The digital euro does not compete with crypto units such as bitcoin. After all, a digital euro is—as already mentioned—fiat money issued by the state, which is exactly what all those who are looking for better money do not want to hold.

Rather, the target group for the digital euro includes those who are basically content with the euro as it currently is and those who are worried about a potential banking crash. This group probably represents a fairly large number of people who come into question as a potential target clientele for the digital euro.

The plan is to allow for a 1:1 exchange of euro cash and commercial bank balances with digital euros. Economically speaking, this means that the ECB de facto insures the liabilities of the euro banks: the ECB transfers its creditworthiness, which is beyond any doubt stellar, to euro commercial banks.

With a 1:1 exchange option nobody has to worry about losing their money balances held at euro commercial banks, as the ECB has the monopoly of euro production. The ECB cannot go bankrupt; it can create euros at any time to settle its payment obligations, regardless of the amount.

That said, no one needs to worry that their balances held at a commercial bank could be lost if the bank goes bankrupt and the deposit protection fund fails. If a digital euro is publicly accepted, the scenario of euro commercial banks collapsing becomes unlikely; the euro money and credit system would be supported more than ever by the omnipotence of the ECB.

As is well known, in their Communist Manifesto (1848) Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels named ten “measures” the implementation of which would lead to communism. The fifth measure reads as follows: “Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state by a national bank with state capital and exclusive monopoly.” The issuance of a digital euro and the resulting consequences are undoubtedly another crucial step in bringing the Marxists’ vision of their desired revolution to fruition. Author:

Thorsten Polleit

Dr. Thorsten Polleit is Chief Economist of Degussa and Honorary Professor at the University of Bayreuth. He also acts as an investment advisor.

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The Recovery Is Stalling. We Need Pro-Market Reforms Now. | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on October 16, 2020

Government shutdowns have created a solvency problem with severe long-term ramifications in large parts of the business fabric. One in five companies in the UK are considered “zombies,” almost 12 percent in the United States, and more than 15 percent in the eurozone.

https://mises.org/wire/recovery-stalling-we-need-pro-market-reforms-now?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=1bc93c725e-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-1bc93c725e-228343965

Daniel Lacalle

The Economic Sentiment Index of the European Commission for August shows that the recovery of the European economy is slowing down. Not only has the pace of recovery slowed significantly, but the data for Spain reflected evidence of being the only economy in the euro area where the index fell compared to July. If we look at the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) leading indicator index, the evolution is also worrying. 60 Bloomberg also tracks the daily activity in most economies, and the evidence points to a deceleration in August in most developed and emerging economies. Only the United States seems moderately better in comparison, although the slowdown in the recovery process is also evident.

Many may say that it is normal to see a deceleration in the recovery after such a fast bounce in June and July, but when most economies’ outputs remain 10 to 20 percent below February levels after the reopening, we must be concerned. We also must warn about a rapid recovery in GDP (gross domestic product) that comes mostly from massive increases in debt and government spending. The reality is that for most businesses and households the economy remains far away from 2019 levels.

Why Such a Rapid Change in Trend?

The first and wrong analysis is usually to blame the slowdown on a bad tourist season affecting the travel and leisure sector. Of course, it is an important factor, but many other parts of the economy are showing an abrupt change in trend. Furthermore, the worsening of the indicators is clearly reflected in industry and consumer confidence, with manufacturing purchasing managers’ indexes (PMIs) slowing down in the eurozone and even entering contraction in Spain.

The forced closure of the economy by government decision and the lack of confidence in the future have a profound midterm impact on the economy.

Government shutdowns have created a solvency problem with severe long-term ramifications in large parts of the business fabric. One in five companies in the UK are considered “zombies,” almost 12 percent in the United States, and more than 15 percent in the eurozone. The Bank of Spain warns that 25 percent of Spanish companies are in a situation of technical bankruptcy and business closure.

Governments have ignored the fragility of the private sector for years, while corporate debt and solvency ratios reached new record highs. However, what is more important is that governments have not paid any attention to the weakness of the small business fabric, millions of companies with one or two employees that managed to survive day by day, that had no debt or assets and have been destroyed by the misguided and ineffective forced shutdown, not because their owners used the wrong strategies.

The excess of capacity built in the fake and indebted growth period of 2017–19 is also evident in the weak recovery. Small businesses’ death by working capital and so-called strategic sectors’ zombification through low rates and high liquidity are the collateral damage of the eternal stimulus we have seen in the post-2008 period, particularly in the European Union, where large conglomerates are viewed by governments as hidden social security systems and behave almost like state-owned enterprises in numerous cases. The August composite manufacturing index in the eurozone shows this slack. It worsened from 54.9 in July to 51.6 in August. Still expanding, but a massive slump for one month. Following the daily activity indices published by Bloomberg Economics, economic activity in the euro area is still 10 percent below February levels, and recovery slows after reopening.

The main problem is that all this occurs in the middle of the largest chain of stimuli since the creation of the eurozone. The balance sheet of the European Central Bank has soared from 39 percent of the GDP of the eurozone at the beginning of the year to 55 percent in August 2020, much larger than the balance sheet of the Federal Reserve (33 percent of US GDP) or of the Bank of England (32 percent), though still far from the monetary insanity of the Bank of Japan (120 percent). Negative interest rates, a European Central Bank that has bought more than 20 percent of the outstanding debt of most member countries, liquidity injections into the financial system via targeted longer-term refinancing operations (TLTROs), and a fiscal stimulus of almost 10 percent of GDP, yet the eurozone economy is not even close to February levels.

These stimuli do not solve a problem of solvency and falling sales. Most businesses that are closing are not doing so due to lack of access to credit or because interest rates are high (they are the opposite), or due to lack of public spending. They close because sales after reopening are nowhere near the levels needed to cover growing expenses and tax bills. Death by working capital, as I mentioned previously.

Europe and the rest of the world must learn that huge stimulus can disguise the risk of highly indebted countries with serious solvency problems but it does not solve it.

At some point we must begin to understand that periods like the current one are precisely the most dangerous. With the excuse of attending to a crisis, structural imbalances are increased while the productive sector is left abandoned.

When we read about the “support for businesses” in these stimulus packages the majority are just giving companies the opportunity to borrow more now to pay taxes in the future.

This chain of stimuli and government spending will not strengthen the economy. At best, it will zombify sectors that already had growth, productivity, and debt problems before the pandemic. There is some hope, however. Countries like France are recognizing for the first time that the measures they must take if they want to get out of this crisis are reforms that free the economy. These include serious tax-wedge and administrative reforms that attract investment, employment, and improve competitiveness. There must also be reductions of the tax burden on productive sectors, elimination of bureaucratic obstacles, reduction of so-called social charges and hiring costs, lifting of useless regulatory restrictions, incentivization of high-productivity sectors instead of subsidization of low-productivity ones, etc.

Structural reforms are urgent, but the eurozone and Japan have shifted from using monetary policy to buy time to implement those structural reforms to using such monetary stimulus as an excuse not to implement them.

Most developed economies face a dangerous dilemma: choose to follow the path of debt stagnation or strengthen the economy to exit the crisis in a stronger way. Unfortunately, the first alternative benefits a political sector that refuses to adjust, although in the medium term it destroys it by making debt and deficits unsustainable. Author:

Daniel Lacalle

Daniel Lacalle, PhD, economist and fund manager, is the author of the bestselling books Freedom or Equality (2020),Escape from the Central Bank Trap (2017), The Energy World Is Flat (2015), and Life in the Financial Markets (2014).

He is a professor of global economy at IE Business School in Madrid.

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The Importance of “Fedspeak” | Mises Institute

Posted by M. C. on May 30, 2020

At the conclusion of the Fed meeting,

Members agreed that the Federal Reserve was committed to using its full range of tools to support the U.S. economy in this challenging time, thereby promoting its maximum employment and price stability goals.

Fed speak for “We don’t have a clue”

https://mises.org/power-market/importance-fedspeak?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=ea7dac162c-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-ea7dac162c-228343965

Robert Aro

The Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines “Fedspeak” as:

(informal) Impenetrable economic jargon used by the US Federal Reserve.

It’s not a condition that affects the chair of the Federal Reserve only; the wave of Fedspeak has been exhibited by members of its inner circle as well. Just last week, in a speech made to the New York Association for Business Economics, Vice Chair Richard H. Clarida said:

On March 16, we launched a program to purchase Treasury securities and agency mortgage-backed securities in whatever amounts needed to support smooth market functioning, thereby fostering effective transmission of monetary policy to broader financial conditions.

More than $2 trillion were spent on these two asset purchases alone—a figure so large on a subject known to so few. Most will be unable to grasp what this implies for their own lives and future. When the vice chair says that the purchases help “support smooth market function,” who can stand up and ask him to succinctly define this? And further, who will challenge the assertion? How “smoothly” should a market function, and when will they know when it’s smooth enough?

The problem is that this tinkering with the money supply affects the majority of society, i.e., those who are not financially well-to-do central bankers. Ultimately, it’s those on Main Street who will pay for this intervention while buried in an avalanche of debt and stuck at home under government quarantine. Who has time to decode the reflections of a central banker? Thus, it continues. Main Street remains in the dark, guided by those who are equally blind to the principles of economics.

Fedspeak knows no bounds, as its reach has even infiltrated the European Central Bank (ECB), whose latest meeting minutes show a similar use of nebulous ideas when looking at the various risks to economic activity that the virus caused. They noted:

Attention was drawn to the fact that precautionary saving was already increasing and, if consumers did not regain confidence quickly after containment measures were lifted, there was a risk that demand would remain depressed.

The comment alludes to an ideal equilibrium that the virus has thrown off and that therefore requires intervention. Naturally, the central banker sees a problem with savings and demand, he just cannot articulate what the problem is in any discernible way. It is implied that an increase in savings and a decrease in demand, which may be partly due to a lack of confidence, pose a risk to the economy. But how much savings is too much? And how much demand is too little? This remains unknown to all except the central banker.

The Fed’s meeting minutes, also released last week, were no different. Almost as if the Fed and the ECB had had the same meeting, the Fed similarly observed that:

household spending would likely be held down by a decrease in confidence and an increase in precautionary saving.

They use these types of subjective observations, combined with data points, in order to plan the economy. Nearly imperceptibly, they justify their actions with sentences making subjective claims. The importance of Fedspeak cannot be understated. If the general public, academia, and elected officials demanded that the Fed prove how much stimulus, demand, savings, and money supply are needed to save the economy, the very existence of the Fed could be thrown into question. This would be a great thing for society, but very bad for the Fed and the economists it employs.

At the conclusion of the Fed meeting,

Members agreed that the Federal Reserve was committed to using its full range of tools to support the U.S. economy in this challenging time, thereby promoting its maximum employment and price stability goals.

With nine credit facilities already running or soon to be in place, the Fed will print as much money as possible to make sure any crisis will be contained. At that point we can only hope that the public will not be looking to the Fed for answers, partly because the Fed is the cause of the problem, but also because any explanation would amount to nothing more than “impenetrable economic jargon.”

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Central Bankers Have Declared War on Your Savings | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on December 2, 2019

Recently, European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde bemoaned their surpluses, complaining that they would be better off spending the money on infrastructure and education. Desperate for a modicum of growth, Lagarde is of the philosophy that the only way to grow an economy is through government intervention.

https://mises.org/wire/central-bankers-have-declared-war-your-savings?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=adfd4f6c6d-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-adfd4f6c6d-228343965

…Lagarde is a proponent of the NIRPs , championing the unconventional mechanism to achieve growth. Since the eurozone has barely cracked 2% GDP, many are anticipating that Lagarde will deepen negative rates during her term as president. Anytime she has mused on the subject, Lagarde has usually dismissed concerns about the saver, noting that they are also consumers, borrowers, and workers.

Unfortunately, this contempt for savers is commonplace because it is antithetical to the Keynesian approach of spending. Disciples of John Maynard Keynes will contend that consumption over saving should only happen during the bust phase of the business cycle, but if you peruse any opinion pieces by individuals subscribing to this ideology, you will only come across spending prescriptions for every type of economy – boom or bust. They dismiss the fact that capital accumulation, not consumption, creates wealth.

This myth originates from Keynes’ The General Theory and Treatise on Money, in which he posits that a saver is reducing the income of another person because he or she is not consuming the goods or services extended by somebody else. Put simply, he considered saving a self-defeating act.

“Saving is the act of the individual consumer and consists in the negative act of refraining from spending the whole of his current income on consumption,” he wrote.

The crusade against savers has been prevalent in the Democratic primary. The likes of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have grieved about hoarders , particularly those who are the top 0.1% (no longer just the 1% anymore; likely because these two people are the 1%, too). The presidential candidates are perturbed that the supposed capital hoarders are not putting their fortunes into the economy. This is nonsense talk to justify their wealth confiscation policies, since the affluent are saving and investing, not just stuffing their money under mattresses.

Negative rates, higher taxes, and inflation – the statists are employing every measure to gain access to the fruits of your labor…

If you don’t like it, then you are out of luck. You have nowhere to go. The globalists have declared war on mom and pop savers, pillaging bank accounts and conquering our lives. Is there a chance for victory? As long as the omnipotent and iniquitous institutions remain in charge, optimism over sound economics can only fade to black.

Originally published by Liberty Nation.

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Younger Generation Will Probably End Up Poorer Than Their ...

 

 

 

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Christine Lagarde’s Move from IMF to ECB is Bad for Europe | Mises Institute

Posted by M. C. on July 6, 2019

Moving from one crime family to another.

https://mises.org/power-market/christine-lagardes-move-imf-ecb-bad-europe

Tho Bishop

Earlier today, the internet was aflutter with rumors that we were on the verge of an international crisis following schedule changes involving Russian President Vladamir Putin and Vice President Mike Pence. While it appears there two events were unrelated, a different sort of tragedy struck the international stage hours later when it was announced that Christine Lagarde had been named the new head of the European Central Bank.

Joining the ECB after a lengthy stint as head of the IMF, Lagarde certainly has the resume to be the next “great” central banker. Unfortunately, she has a record of folly which we’ve come to expect from such a title.

In the words of our friend Mike Shedlock, “It’s rare to find someone who is consistently wrong on everything. Christine Lagarde…comes close”

A conventional policymaker that fears deflation most of all, Lagarde has been a high profile defender of the negative interest rate policies we’ve seen doing damage in Europe and Japan. Her selection is being widely seen as an endorsement for continuing the policies of the outgoing Mario Draghi at a time when the ECB desperately needed a hawk to help defuse their trillion-Euro time bomb.

As Daniel Lacalle put it:

Read more: The ECB Continues to Incentivize Reckless Behavior by Daniel Lacalle

Earlier this year, Alasdair Macleod outlined the damage being done by the policies Lagarde is expected to continue.

Pumping yet more credit into the Eurozone is as effective as giving adrenalin to a dead horse. Lack of credit is not the problem. Put simply, there is a global momentum of economic contraction evolving, which any business and lending banker would be foolish to ignore. There is a developing crisis, the consequence of earlier monetary inflation in the credit cycle. Economic actors may not understand the origins of the crisis, but we can be certain they are becoming acutely aware of its looming presence. And as the crisis rapidly develops, those that require additional loans will already be insolvent.

The signal sent by the ECB to lending-bankers is likely to be misinterpreted when credit contraction is the looming threat: if TLRTO-III is the smoke, there must be a fire, possibly out of control. Better surely to call in existing loans to businesses rather than waiting to be repaid from profits unlikely to materialise. An encouragement to lend early in the credit cycle is more effective and less likely to be misunderstood than a similar encouragement later in the credit cycle. This is why a renewed TLTRO policy will almost certainly fail.

The inability of bureaucrats, with their heads buried in spreadsheets, to appreciate the role of human psychology is not the ECB’s only failing. Its executives do not even understand what interest rates represent, thinking it is simply the price of money. This is why it believes in keeping interest rates suppressed as a means of increasing credit. Earlier in the credit cycle, rate suppression does generate some credit expansion, mainly in financial rather than non-financial activities, because lower interest rates lead to higher prices for financial assets. That is basically a spreadsheet, almost non-human function. Large industrial corporations are opportunist, borrowing to fund buy-backs and to take over weaker rivals. Smaller and medium-sized business borrowers are usually offered credit only later in the cycle, when it is a mistake to accept it.

Consequently, in a zombie economy, such as that of the Eurozone, the only borrowers are wealth-destroying, socialising, debt-entrapped governments, taking full advantage of the Basel accords, which rates them for lending banks’ purposes as riskless borrowers…

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Printing Press - HISTORY

 

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IMF’s Christine Lagarde Wins EU Support to Lead European Central Bank

Posted by M. C. on July 3, 2019

In 2016, a French court found her guilty of committing negligence in 2008 when she was finance minister in the cabinet of former President Nicolas Sarkozy. The judge didn’t hand down a punishment, saying the ruling took into context the role Ms. Lagarde played in crafting France’s response to the global financial crisis. The IMF backed her, as did the French government.

Pro inflation and fiat money. Her middle name is ‘one world government’.

Her other face looks like George Soros.

The status quo will be safe. Don’t know about the citizenry that pays the bills.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/imfs-christine-lagarde-wins-eu-support-to-lead-european-central-bank-11562087529

By

Valentina Pop and
Brian Blackstone

BRUSSELS—International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde is likely to become the first woman to run the European Central Bank, putting an experienced crisis fighter in charge and paving the way for a continuation of easy-money policies.

Ms. Lagarde also would be the institution’s first president without a pedigree in central banking. That has raised doubts about whether she would command the same credibility in financial markets as current chief Mario Draghi, who emerged as a dominant figure in the global economy during his nearly eight years at the ECB.

Her nomination comes as central bankers face challenges on a number of fronts. Inflation has weakened below target in many developed economies including the eurozone, while trade conflicts have crimped economic growth. But central bank rates are already super low or—in the case of Europe and Japan—negative, which spurs lending by reducing borrowing costs and making it unattractive to hold deposits…

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mark of the beast

The Mark of the Beast

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