Concerns Mount that ECB Bond-Buying Program Is Illegal; Concerns? What Concerns? [Mish]
October 3, 2012 Leave a comment
Even though the German constitutional court gave its blessing to ECB president Mario Draghi’s OMT program, Concerns Mount that ECB Bond-Buying Program Is Illegal.
The markets have celebrated Mario Draghi’s announcement that the European Central Bank will embark on unlimited purchases of sovereign bonds from crisis stricken countries. But are such purchases really legal? Draghi’s own justification for the program leaves plenty of room for doubt.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is spending a lot of time on the road these days, not unlike a traveling salesman. The product he has on offer is credibility, but in Germany at least, it is proving difficult to find eager takers.
Last week, for example, Draghi gave a speech to several hundred business leaders at the Berlin Congress Center — and the mood was reserved. German business owners still have fond memories of the old deutsche mark, and Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank, still has a good reputation. Draghi’s recently announced plans to launch unlimited purchases of sovereign bonds from crisis-stricken euro-zone member states, on the other hand, are being met with disconcertment and concern.
“These new steps are not a departure from our mandate,” Draghi told German industrial leaders. The ECB, in other words, isn’t just focused on price stability, but is also engaged in “ensuring the proper transmission of monetary policy.” Beyond that, though, concerns are unfounded. The moves made by the ECB, Draghi insisted, “do not aim to finance governments, and nor would they if they were activated.”