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Q&A on Twitter

Interview on Twitter with Philip R. Lane, Member of the Executive Board of the ECB, conducted on 24 September 2020

24 September 2020

Good afternoon, this is Philip R. Lane, the @ecb’s Chief Economist. I’m looking forward to answering your questions for the next 45 minutes or so. Join the conversation! #AskECB

Where do you expect world economy is heading by the end of this year and what the prospectus of 2021. Specially England and Indian economy?

Lane: The global economy was badly hit in the first half of 2020 by the pandemic, no doubt. While there has been some recovery since then, our latest ECB staff projections show that global real GDP will only be back at pre-crisis levels by 2022 #AskECB

#AskECB How long will it take for Strategy Review to reach conclusion re: core tools of monetary policy for future? Is there a case to make announcement on toolbox before Review complete? How do you see outcome of Review impacted by NGEU Fund/possible future fiscal risk sharing?

Lane: We expect to conclude the strategy review in the second half of 2021. One of our strategy review workstreams focuses on the changing fiscal policy landscape and implications for monetary policy. All workstreams here #AskECB

#AskECB Following Michael Woodford's presentation at the ECB on Sept 4th, is the ECB researching the comparative benefits of direct fiscal transfers to households vs. interest-rate policy?

Lane: Large-scale transfers to households have been central to the effective fiscal response to the pandemic. We monitor the impact of these transfers, taking into account the different spending propensities of low-income and high-income households #AskECB

Do you think the ECB's actions reguarding negative interest rates do no harm? why is their an inflation target? Why is this anything but systematic theft from savers

Lane: The current negative rates are a pathway to positive rates in the future. Our rate cuts have been successful and have been passed on to bank lending rates, ensuring favourable conditions for firms and households. We constantly assess benefits and risks #AskECB

When CBDC?

Lane: Like many other central banks, we are exploring the benefits, risks and operational challenges of introducing a digital euro in addition to banknotes and other means of payment. We haven’t taken a decision but are launching a public consultation soon #AskECB

What's your opinion about money like #Bitcoin that can not be debased compared to fiat like euro? #AskECB

Lane: There is no comparison between money issued by the central bank and crypto assets. More in our explainer #AskECB

Secular stagnation should now be accepted as the baseline scenario for the future, also from a risk-management point of view. Do you agree? If not, why? #AskECB

Lane: Central banks have to recognise the implications of low growth and low interest rates. New approaches are needed to revitalise our economies, including a focus on the green and digital transitions. #NextGenerationEU is an important step in the right direction #AskECB

#AskECB whatever it does the ECB seems to have little impact on inflation. If you HAD to change the main goal to something else what would be your first choice ?

Lane: Without our measures, output would be lower and we would face more severe disinflation or even deflation. Ample stimulus is still needed to get back to our inflation aim #AskECB

#AskECB What do you think about the spread between rich and poor? especially with the flood of money the gap is increasing..stocks and real estates benefit from the cheap money and what we see in the real world are crazy costs for living. Renting a flat is nearly impossible...

Lane: We track many measures of inflation, including rental and food prices. We’re piloting a survey of 10,000 households in the euro area to better understand their inflation expectations #AskECB

#AskECB Is PEPP able to have success and meet its objectives as pandemic cases are rising and economic growth is going through slowdown in many nations

Lane: In recognition of the extreme uncertainty, the scale and flexibility of the PEPP was expressly designed to address the impact of the pandemic. Fiscal measures by the EU and national governments are also substantial #AskECB

If the ECB can digitally print unlimited amounts of currency to fund governments, why do I pay taxes?

Lane: Monetary financing is prohibited by EU Treaty. More in my colleague @Isabel_Schnabel’s recent speech #AskECB

How has your assessment on the economic outlook evolved over the last few weeks given the sharp increase in new COVID cases and weak services activity ? #AskECB

Lane: Containing the virus is the most important policy objective. Our baseline allows for some periodic resurgence of the virus until a full-scale medical solution is found #AskECB

#AskECB why are you and other central banks inflating assets and real estate so badly that it has become virtually impossible for young people to afford a house? Why do you keep debasing your currency? #bitcoin

Lane: In general, consumer inflation has been too low, not too high. Asset price dynamics are heavily affected by the low equilibrium real rate. I spoke about this topic last year #AskECB

#AskECB A strong driver in low inflation prints in recent months were services. Service inflation in turn seems to suffer from social distancing. Is any reversal of this social distancing disinflation part of the staff projections?

Lane: The baseline scenario in our staff projections indeed factors in that a medical solution is found over the course of next year. This would support a recovery in the service sector and put upward pressure on service sector inflation #AskECB

Hi. What are the countercyclic meassures that the ECB is taking in order to stabilize the situation? #AskECB

Lane: We have PEPP, TLTROs, collateral easing and, on the supervisory side, a host of measures. See full overview here #AskECB

Does the Chief Economist think that the removal of 1c and 2c coins from circulation would have any material impact on price levels? #AskECB

Lane: No #AskECB

How many sustainable-linked bonds have become eligible as a result of this decision? And why were those bonds not eligible already? #AskECB

Lane: By accepting sustainability-linked bonds as collateral we expand the range of green bonds that can be bought as part of the asset purchase programmes. A small step that brings us closer towards a greener economy #AskECB

#AskECB @ecb EA inflation is on a downward trend against a background of low demand and euro appreciation : what is your assessment of deflation risks in the upcoming months?

Lane: Rather than deflation risk, our primary concern is inflation remaining below our aim for an excessive period #AskECB

"A strong majority (62%) of Americans say they have little or no trust in the central bank" Have you observed similar trend outside America? #AskECB

Lane: We agree that trust in the central bank is essential. For a recent analysis see #AskECB

With COVID cases increasing in diferent countries like Spain o Germany, What does the ECB think about the new restrictions and how they are going to afect de economy in the Euro Zone? #AskECB

Lane: The first priority is to contain the virus – if there is a sustained surge in cases, this will damage consumer and investor confidence #AskECB

#AskECB The m3/GDP ratio has gone up from mid 70% at the behinning of this century to currently way over 100% What would be an about right ratio or range?

Lane: The monetary aggregates are highly informative but cannot be reduced to simple ratios #AskECB

#AskECB thank you M.Lane agreed it would have been worst but we are still far away from the mark (any central bank).Maybe we are pursuing something which is not the proper indicator to get to other goals of the Treaty ie employment and substainable development for instance ;)

Lane: Part of the strategy review will be to look at how the secondary objectives affect our policy. Here are all workstreams #AskECB

Have you considered expanding the eligible universe of assets for purchase to benefit the real economy (Green bonds, SME loans), rather than only sovereign bonds and large, investment-grade corporates? #AskECB

Lane: We hold about 20% of the eligible corporate green bonds. As a further step, we decided to accept bonds with sustainability-liked coupon targets as collateral, which increases the eligible universe for our asset purchase programmes #AskECB

#AskECB Who will be the owner of the digital euro? Who will create it?

Lane: The euro belongs to the citizens of Europe, be it banknotes or digital. The ECB is the custodian on their behalf #AskECB

Thanks a lot for all your questions – I had a great time during my second Twitter Q&A and look forward to next time. Philip R. Lane #AskECB


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