This was going to be the year when the other big central banks joined the Fed in “normalizing” interest rates and reversing the past decade’s QE experiment. Instead, the other central banks blinked and went back to aggressive ease, and the Fed is following them. This is a very big deal.
Let’s consider some before-and-after stories:
In September 2018, the European Central Bank began tightening:
(AP) – The European Central Bank is expected to ratchet back its stimulus efforts again on Thursday as it gingerly phases out extraordinary support for the economy left over from the Great Recession and the euro currency union’s debt crisis.
The bank’s 25-member governing council is expected to cut its monthly bond-purchase stimulus to 15 billion euros ($17.4 billion) a month from 30 billion a month, on the way to ending the purchases at the end of the year.
Reinhard Cluse, chief European economist for UBS, said that after the June meeting “the ECB is now essentially on autopilot.” Cluse said that the ECB can phase out the bond purchases and then decide the exact timing of next year’s first rate increase in the summer or fall.
But before any actual tightening took place, the EU economy slowed and turmoil flared in Italy and France. This week:
(WSWS) – The European Central Bank has reversed its policy of slight monetary tightening and announced a new stimulus package in the face of data which show a sharp downturn in growth in the euro zone. The unanimous decision was taken at the meeting of the ECB’s governing council held in Frankfurt yesterday.
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