Ignazio Visco: The euro-area economy and the recent monetary policy decisions

Ignazio Visco: The euro-area economy and the recent monetary policy decisions Speech by Mr Ignazio Visco, Governor of the Bank of Italy, at the Giornate di economia "Marcello De Cecco" Lanciano, 28 September 2019.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
30 September 2019

First of all, thank you for your kind invitation to take part in this panel on "Europe for All" which concludes this second day of the "Giornate di economia" in memory of Marcello De Cecco. Marcello followed the ECB Governing Council's decisions and the related analyses and discussions with great interest and with the acumen for which he was known. Today I would like to touch upon three points: 1) the monetary policy decisions that we have just taken; 2) the economic analyses behind them; and 3) the debate concerning, and our assessment of, the effectiveness of the various measures that were adopted.

1. At its September meeting the ECB Governing Council introduced a very broad package of expansionary measures. It lowered the interest rate on deposits that banks make with the Eurosystem (the deposit facility), which has been in negative territory since June 2014, by 10 basis points to -0.5 per cent. It decided to restart net asset purchases at a monthly pace of €20 billion beginning in November, after they were interrupted in December of last year, when they amounted to €2,600 billion since their launch at the end of 2014. It relaxed the terms of its new series of targeted longer-term refinancing operations (TLTRO III) compared with those of the June decision by lowering their cost (to -0.5 or 0.0 per cent depending on the lending performance of the individual banks) and by extending their maturity (from two to three years). It introduced a zero interest rate, as opposed to a negative interest rate, on part of the banks' liquidity reserves ("tiering") to attenuate the risk, feared by some observers, that increasingly negative interest rates on the deposit facility could have counterproductive effects on banks' balance sheets and, in turn, on lending.