ECB's Makhlouf says 'helicopter money' not the answer to coronavirus crisis

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Providing free cash for citizens, or the so-called dropping of “helicopter money”, is not a monetary policy tool fit for the coronavirus economic crisis, Irish central bank chief Gabriel Makhlouf said on Tuesday.

“What we need here are measures to support households and firms through the crisis and it needs to be targeted,” Makhlouf, who sits on the European Central Bank’s rate-setting Governing Council, told Irish national broadcaster RTE.

“Helicopter money is not targeted and I don’t think it’s a tool that is fit for this particular crisis,” he said, adding that EU governments must respond with unprecedented, co-ordinated and ambitious action.

(This story corrects day to Tuesday from Wednesday in first paragraph.)

Reporting by Padraic Halpin, Editing by Franklin Paul