The ECB will be unable to normalize its monetary policy soon

The ECB will not start the normalization of its monetary policy in 2019. The interest rate level will remain stable, my bet is that the refi rate and the deposit rate will remain at the current level in 2019.
The lack of external impulse, the slower momentum in the manufacturing sector and the convergence of the headline inflation rate to the core inflation rate are three reasons that suggest that the ECB will not take risks in the management of its monetary policy. The monetary policy normalization, even the expectation of it, may weaken economic activity. Therefore it’s not the good policy when the inflation rate is way below the ECB target with no convergence to the target in a foreseeable future.

The framework I have in mind is the following: Due to more heterogeneous behaviors and uncertainty at the political level, global growth will become, in 2019, weaker than in 2017 and in 2018. Inside the Euro Area, there are no coordinated policies that may boost growth, therefore growth trajectories will converge to potential growth. This framework is not a source of monetary policy normalization. But we can add that the dramatic oil price drop in recent weeks (due to excess supply in the US and in Arabia) will push the headline inflation rate to the core inflation rate which has been close to 1% for months. It’s still way below the ECB target and therefore not a source of monetary policy normalization.  Continue reading

Italy – The crisis is coming

The adjustment on the upside is not over on Italian rates. The 10 year bond’s rate is converging to 3%. The spread with the German 10-year rate is now circa 270 bp. This also reflects a safe heaven effect for German bonds.

With a rate at 3% % while the inflation is at 0.5% (in April), the real rate is way too high in Italy compared to real growth prospects. But such a level on the real rate (2.5%) would be just above the average seen since the beginning of the Euro Area (2.2%). It’s too high when the GDP trend is close to 1%. This has deterred investment and it will continue limiting the capacity to grow. We have to expect a slowdown in the economic activity in coming months. It will come from the real rate level but also from the uncertainty in the Italian economy. An austerity program that can be expected from a transition government is not good news for Italy but also for the rest of the Eurozone.
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British inflation eases

Economists said after the referendum on Brexit that a temporary spike in the inflation rate could be expected due notably to the British currency depreciation.
That’s what has happened with a peak in November 2017 at 3.1%. After this date, the inflation rate is receding at less than 2.5% in March 2018. The core inflation rate has followed the same profile with a current rate at less than 2.3%.
uk inflation rate.png Continue reading

Inflation on the upside in the United Kingdom

The current acceleration of the inflation rate creates a complex situation in the United Kingdom as it weighs on households’ purchasing power.
In April the inflation rate was at 2.7% and the core inflation rate was at 2.5%. The inflation rate has not been so high since the fall of 2013 and november 2012 for the core rate. This is mainly the impact of the depreciation of the currency after last june referendum on Brexit.
A year ago the inflation rate was at 0.3% and the core inflation rate was at 1.2%. This latter magnitude is worrisome as the economy is not growing more rapidly.
uk-2017-aprl-inflation
The main issue is that wages momentum will not follow the inflation profile.  Continue reading

Euro Area – Inflation rate at 2% but the ECB will not move

The inflation rate was at 2% in February after 1.8% in January. It’s the highest record since January 2013. The core inflation is stable at 0.9%. It means that energy is the main driver for the higher inflation rate.
The first graph shows that the core inflation rate is stable since 2014 and the volatility of the inflation rate is associated with the oil price yearly change.
ea-2017-feb-inflation
The oil price effect has started to diminish. The second graph shows the consistency between the yearly change in oil price (blue) and the energy contribution to the inflation rate (purple). We see that the oil price change has peaked in January and will follow the red line which shows the oil price yearly change when the oil price is at 55USD and the exchange rate at 1.06.(the last point is June 2017)
The oil price impact will be transitory and the energy contribution will start decreasing in April probably as there is persistence and delay between the oil price and contribution.
In other words, after the current peak, the inflation rate will converge to the core inflation rate (circa 1%).
This temporary effect of oil price on inflation is a strong incentive for the ECB to keep its monetary policy stance unchanged.
ea-2017-february-oilpricecontrib

Higher inflation rate in the Euro Area – It’s oil price

The Euro Area inflation rate jumped at 1.8% in January after 1.1% in December 2016.
The graph below shows the cumulated contributions to the inflation rate. It can be read in the following manner: the red line is the goods price contribution to the inflation rate; the blue line is the sum of the red line plus the services price contribution to the inflation rate; the green line is the sum of the blue line and of the food price contribution to the inflation rate. Alle these prices represent more than 90% of the Consumer Price Index. The green line is almost stable; its range is 0.6% – 0.85% since mid-2014. There is no surge in inflation through all these prices.
The last line, the purple one, is the sum of the green line and of the energy price contribution to the inflation rate. Continue reading