One of Mario Draghi’s possible successors as President of the European Central Bank (ECB), Benoit Coeure, is reluctant to follow the US Fed and Japan in taking measures to shield lenders from the effects of negative deposit rates.
Coeure said he sees no reason for a tiered deposit rate, which could relieve lenders from paying 0.40% to the ECB for excess reserve assets.
The overall cost for European lenders is estimated to be €7.5 billion a year.
In theory, the purpose of negative interest rates is to oblige banks to channel liquidity to the real economy. “At the current juncture, I do not see the monetary policy argument for tiering,” Coeure told German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Coeure’s views echo those of many ECB board members. The traditional view is that extraordinary fiscal measures ultimately benefit lenders, who welcome billions in zero-interest financing when dealing with adverse market conditions and non-performing loans. He urged banks to focus on cost-cutting rather than complain about negative interest rates.
Coeuré was appointed to the six-member executive board of the ECB in January 2012 and he is part of the team that devised the so-called unconventional monetary policy launched by Draghi’s promise in the summer of 2012 to do “whatever it takes” to save the euro. Coeure has supported Draghi throughout his tenure, even against staunch criticism by Jens Weidmann, Germany’s central banker.
The expectation of an interest rate hike in the summer of 2019 was reversed a one-by-one Eurozone economies are decelerating and inflation is falling. The review of the policy and the possible introduction of any new measures.
Coeure reaffirmed the ECB’s expectation for an economic rebound in the second half of 2019, although he admitted that it was unclear how long the current downturn will persist.
Currently, the €2,6 trillion bond-buying program of the ECB has expired, although purchases of government bonds continues as the central bank keeps reinvesting the proceeds of the bonds that arrive at maturity, which keeps its balance sheet at its current level.