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No Move In ECB Interest Rates

James Boston
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No Move In ECB Interest Rates

The European Central Bank (ECB) Governing Council has just completed it’s scheduled September monetary policy meeting. As widely anticipated all three of it’s key interest rates have been maintained at their current levels, the key Refinance rate remains at it’s historic low of 0.05% while the Deposit facility stays at a negative 20 basis points. The Marginal lending facility also stays where it is at 0.30%.

The ECB President, Mario Draghi, will give a press conference shortly where it is anticipated he will comment on both the Bank’s Asset Backed Securities (ABS) purchase program and the potential for a full scale initiative to purchase sovereign debt instruments from Euro member states.

At the press conference in the Italian city of Naples, Draghi will no doubt be asked to comment on the limited take up of the ECB’s Targeted Long Term Refinance Operation. The programme which launched in September saw banks draw down just 82.6Bn euros of an allocation of close to 400Bn. Banks will be offered a second bite of the cherry in December when it is hoped that the participation rate will be improved. The ECB President will have his opportunity to explain his thoughts as to why the liquidity enhancing initiative is so under subscribed but it is likely to have something to do with the impending ABS Purchase Programme. The TLTRO funding route places restrictions on where the participating banks can lend on the funds, the ABS programme does not contain such restrictions. There is no question that the ECB isn’t doing it’s utmost to increase bank liquidity, the reality however is that the mortgage markets hold the most potential for banks to make profits at the moment and they would prefer to apply their funds in this direction, the TLTRO prohibits this while the ABS programme does not.

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