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The ECB’s decision to extend, but taper, its QE does not herald an early tightening of policy. The main policy (deposit) rate is likely to stay negative in 2017, & the fiscal side should be activated.
While helpful in addressing the symptom, deflation, Mr Draghi cannot alone be expected to solve the underlying problem - a monetary union devoid of economic union. This will take years.
We update our Competitiveness Analysis to highlight the progress so far. Despite improvement at the euro-wide level, shifts in individual members’ competitiveness are still too disparate.
After a decade of deterioration, Italy & Spain’s positions have improved significantly since austerity. But, while encouraging, it brings economic & social costs, with reform-fatigue building.
So, with 2017 such a highly-charged political year in Europe, any contagion - unlike 2008 - is more likely to be political rather than financial. And, with the monetary engine already overloaded, it looks time to also crank up the fiscal side...
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Neil WilliamsSenior Economic AdviserNeil joined Hermes in August 2009 and is responsible for Hermes’ economic research. He has a forward-looking approach to generate investment strategy ideas. Neil adopts top-down methods – macro and market analysis to identify interest rate and credit value, and sovereign default risk. Neil began his career in 1987 at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), becoming its youngest ever Head of Economic Policy. He went on to hold a number of senior positions in investment banks - including Director of Bond Research at UBS, Head of Research at Sumitomo International, Global Head of Emerging Markets Research at PaineWebber International, and, before coming to Hermes, Head of Sovereign Research and Strategy at Mizuho International. Neil has 30 years’ industry experience and earned an MA in Economics in 1986 from Manchester University, having the previous year completed his BSc (Hons), also in Economics, from University College Swansea. Read all articles by Neil Williams