FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The European Central Bank is prepared to respond to any economic shock from Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election but it is too early to draw any conclusion, ratesetters said on Wednesday.
Any weakening in the U.S. economy, the world’s largest and Europe’s top trading partner, is bad news for the ECB, which is trying to support the euro zone’s recovery with sub-zero interest rates, bond buying and cheap loans to banks.
ECB chief Economist Peter Praet called for calm in the face of market volatility and fellow executive board member Benoit Coeure said Europe should speed up reforms as political risk elsewhere rises.
Global stock markets initially fell on Wednesday after Trump’s surprise win before changing course in the European afternoon.
“We are definitely prepared to intervene in an emergency,” ECB Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny - who heads the Austrian central bank - told reporters in Vienna. He said it was too soon to know what would happen. “What that will really look like, we must wait and see.”
“Usually what we do is look through volatility of course for the first days so we have to be a bit patient and see how things evolve,” Praet said before a speech in Brussels.
“All communications on monetary policy will not change now as a result. We have to be calm, calmer than the markets.”
Praet added the ECB would need to keep its “a very substantial amount of monetary support” to bring inflation back to its target of almost 2 percent.
The ECB has an open swap line with the Federal Reserve allowing U.S. banks to borrow in euros from the Fed and vice versa if they struggle to finance themselves on the market.
“I believe the U.S. central bank and the ECB are able to suitably respond to any possible shocks following the U.S. elections,” Slovenian central bank governor Bostjan Jazbec said at an event in Slovenia.
Speaking later, Latvian Governor Ilmars Rimsevics was more sanguine.
“I think that he (Trump) will be a very good president because he has to prove that he will bring about some change and... structural reforms,” Rimsevics said in a TV interview.
“Markets will get used to this new situation and ... I don’t see any big problems there in the future.”
The ECB will decide on the future shape and duration of its bond-buying program in December and is almost certain to extend purchases beyond its current March deadline.
(This version of the story corrects attribution of quote in sixth paragraph)
Reporting by Leigh Thomas in Paris, Gederts Gelzis in Riga, Francois Murphy in Vienna, Marja Novak in Brdo Pri Kranju, and Robert-Jan Bartunek and Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels; Editing by Tom Heneghan
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