Submitted by David Stockman – The Contra Corner Blog
The world’s most dangerous central banker is scheduled to unleash more financial mayhem tomorrow. But there is only one possible result from Mario Draghi’s plan to drive the ECB deposit rate deeper into ZIRP-land from an already absurd level of -0.2%.
Namely, it will cause a whoosh of short-term flows out of the euro, thereby driving the EUR exchange rate downward against the dollar and other major currencies. That used to be called beggar-thy-neighbor. And it still is.
Just take the word of a leading European bond manager for the truth that Draghi will never utter:
“One of the reasons why the ECB is so keen on cutting the deposit rate is it is such a very effective tool for weakening the currency,” said Jack Kelly, head of government bond funds at Standard Life Investments, which oversees £250 billion in assets. “Probably more so than the asset purchase program.”
There you have it, and there ain’t no more. The whole drama scheduled for tomorrow at the ECB is about nothing more than plunging deeper into crank economics and the age-old fallacy that nation’s can make themselves wealthier by trashing their own currency.
At this particular juncture, however, we have reached a remarkable threshold. The ECB is the legatee of the stoutly anti-inflationist tradition of the Germany’s Bundesbank. Yet in a few short years a foolish former Italian Treasury bureaucrat, and one-time Goldman Sachs trainee, has turned the ECB upside-down——-morphing it into a desperate engine of inflation, and for no rational or plausible reason whatsoever.
Yes, the eurozone CPI has come in at a 0.2% increase over the past year, and as a matter of arithmetic that’s 180 basis points below the ECB’s vaunted 2% target.
So what! There is not one iota of proof anywhere that on a sustained basis 2.0% inflation is better for prosperity than 0.2% inflation. This endlessly repeated policy mantra is just central banker ritual incantation.
Besides that, what’s wrong with a brief spell of flattish CPI readings when they are self-evidently a result of plunging global oil and commodity prices? Any fool can see that Europe has not suffered on a trend basis from anything that remotely resembles deflation. In fact, its 5-year CPI rate is 1.7% per annum and it’s 2.2% since the turn of the century. Continue reading