Thursday, June 02, 2005

ECB Holds Rates at 2%

The European Central Bank held its main refinancing rate constant at 2% for the 24th consecutive month this afternoon. No real surprise here. Perhaps the most revealing comment has been: "Whether others like it or not, the ECB isn?t an activist central bank,? a view offered to the Financial Times by one Julian Jessop, economist at Capital Economics.

The FT also points out that: "the 5.5 per cent slide in the euro to $1.226 against the dollar since the ECB?s last meeting may have done some of the Bank?s work for it. The weakening of the euro is stimulative to growth in the same way a rate cut would be, and, if it persists, is likely to be an upward drag on eurozone inflation".

We will see. The euro has had a much calmer day today, clawing back this morning most of the ground lost in hectic trading last night. It is currently going for around $1.2279 in a fairly volatile afternoon.

The - oh they've all gone quiet over there - European Commission seems determined to sit things out till the June Summit, while Barroso appeals for calm:.

"?What I am asking for now is that political leaders, in particular government chiefs, not take individual, or unilateral decisions. I ask political leaders to show responsibility, to show caution"

Jean-Claude - into the valley of death rode the 600 - Juncker, Luxembourg's prime minister and holder of the rotating EU presidency, continued to insist ratification should go forward as planned. Since Luxembourg is to have the next scheduled referendum, it will be interesting to see whether he in fact leads the troops more than the statutory 'half a league'.

Europolitix has it that behind the scenes (and this is really the problem about how we do politics in Europe) a revolt is brewing amongst those who would be asked to follow Junker's noble sacrifice: Poland, Denmark, Ireland, the Czech Republic, and, of course, the UK.

No comments: