June 8, 2018 / 1:17 AM / a year ago

Economists stick to view ECB will end quantitative easing this year: Reuters poll

BENGALURU (Reuters) - The European Central Bank is expected to end its stimulus program by the end of this year, according to Reuters poll data that shows economists confident following comments from ECB policymakers over the past week reinforcing that view.

FILE PHOTO: European Central Bank (ECB) headquarters building is seen in Frankfurt, Germany, March 7, 2018. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski/File Photo

The latest Reuters poll data, which updated a survey published May 24 of over 80 economists, showed forecasts were largely unchanged before the June 14 Governing Council meeting.

Every Reuters poll since the question was first asked in September 2017 has forecast the ECB will stop buying tens of billions of euros a month of bonds by the end of this year.

ECB policymakers - including Jens Weidmann, the head of Germany’s central bank, his Dutch counterpart, Klaas Knot and Chief Economist Peter Praet - have said the 2.55 trillion-euro scheme might end this year.

While some economists argue that a decision is coming at the June 14 meeting, others expect the ECB to provide a timeline on when it will conclude its asset purchases program.

“Rather than action, the upcoming policy meeting is all about the message. With growth slowing, inflation mostly pushed up by rising oil prices and higher uncertainty, there are grounds for caution. But a QE tapering announcement is getting closer,” noted economists at Morgan Stanley.

“We expect a relatively cautious press conference, with the central bank on high alert. This is because of the deceleration in growth, the recent imposition of the US import tariffs and uncertainty about the Italian situation. However, we also believe that the message will have to shift soon.”

The central bank was expected to raise the deposit rate by 15 basis points to -0.25 percent in the second quarter of next year and raise refinancing rate by 10 basis points the following quarter.

The comments from policymakers have come despite softer economic data, and helped to push the euro to a three-week high of $1.1838 on Thursday.

The single currency EUR= was expected to shrug off recent losses and climb over 5 percent in a year and end the dollar's reign, according to a separate Reuters poll of foreign exchange strategists published on Thursday. [EUR/POLL]

Additional reporting and polling by Indradip Ghosh, editing by Larry King

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