The 500th council meeting exactly five years after the announcement of the QE program would have been an exciting event. The fact that there were no new announcements on the ECB’s current monetary policy today was not surprising. On the one hand, the economic picture with decreasing downside risks is developing more or less as expected by the ECB. Accordingly, there was no need to change course. An interesting statement regarding indications as to whether Mrs Lagarde prefers a hawkish or dovish course was the brooch she wore today – an owl! On the other hand, in view of the strategic review of monetary policy that is now under way, the ECB will not necessarily be willing to make adjustments if it does not have to. Why should it, when in a year’s time it may have a different approach.
As far as the strategic review of monetary policy is concerned, Mrs Lagarde did not allow herself to be seen in the cards for the time being or to be determined. Even the press releases that have now been published contain only outlines for the time being. Lagarde referred to the process that is only just beginning, which she does not want to pre-determine, but to moderate. So we will have to hope for further indications during the next twelve months – accompanied by the usual speculation that will flush the markets out from time to time.
The choice of a two-part approach, which already leaked out yesterday, is certainly due to the fact that one wants to separate inflation issues from other topics such as regulation, financial stability, but also climate protection and inequality, in order to appease the monetary policy purists in the Council but also the public. It seems interesting that the ECB has chosen a broad public strategy and even wants to involve external experts in the discussion. The ECB should actually draft its strategy independently of external influences – it has enough capable staff. With this embrace, however, everyone is brought together around one table, so that in the end no one can criticise the ECB any more because they were involved in the discussion.