News from European Central Banking

Konjunktur
News from European Central Banking

February 2, 2006
ECB decides to leave its key rate at 2.25 percent.
President Trichet's remarks at the following press conference are widely understood by media and financial markets as pre-announcing a rate hike in March, conditional obviously on the absence of unforeseen events or unexpected developments in the data.

February 2, 2006
Bundesbank: Draft legislation emerges according to which a 19 percent bonus enjoyed by all Bundesbank-emplyees is to be cut to 5 percent or abolished (outside Frankfurt). The draft legislation also would create a legal basis for the Bundesbank to sell Gold and re-invest the proceeds. This would allow the Bundesbank to achieve a higher yield on its assets. Bundesbank President Axel Weber protests sharply against any plans to cut salaries and sounds sceptical on the plan regarding Gold sales. A union representative insinuats that the Government was using the threat of salary cuts to put pressure on the Bundesbank.

Council

February 1, 2006
Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia:, frontrunner candidates for EU-entry have been assessed by the EU. Slovenia meets all the criteria for entry in 2007, but Estonia might struggle to make that date because of high inflation and Latvia could miss its 2008 target, said European Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia according to Reuters.

January 31, 2006
National Bank of Poland lowers its key interest rate by 25 basis points to 4.25 Percent. The bank notes that inflation in December declined to 0.7 percent and inflation expectations of housholds declined to 0.9 percent. GDP growth in 2005 was slightly below the expectations of the NBP at 3.2 percent.
»  Statement of the BNP Monetary Policy Council

January 25, 2006
ECB Governing Council: Market News International reports that there is no consensus within the Governing Council of the ECB that the bank should lift its key rate by March, citing unidentified sources.

January 25, 2006
Reuters opinion poll: According to a Reuters survey of 60 financial market economists 57 of the participants expect the ECB to leave rates unchanged on February 2; three expect a rate hike. In March a large majority of 52 economists expects a rate hike of 25 basis points to 2.5 percent.

January 24, 2006
Jürgen Stark, Vice-President of Deutsche Bundesbank, is the only candidate so far to replace Otmar Issing on the ECB’s six-member board, according to the President of the Euro group, Jean-Claude Juncker. Issing’s eight year term ends on May 31.

January 24, 2006
Vitor Constancio will remain president of the Bank of Portugal. A spokesman of Portugal’s finance ministry confirmed to Reuters that Constancio’s term, due to expire soon, will be renewed.

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