Nemčija vse zanika

Nemški finančni minister Wolfgang Schaeuble pravi, da so izjave predsednika ECB Maria Draghija o nujni večji vlogi fiskalne politike bile “napačno intepretirane” oziroma “overinterpreted”:

Aug 27 (Reuters) – Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told a newspaper on Wednesday that European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi had been “overinterpreted” after suggesting that fiscal policy could play a greater role in promoting growth.

The comments, made last Friday have been widely seen as a shift of emphasis towards support for greater fiscal stimulus over austerity.

“I know Mario Draghi very well, I think he is being overinterpreted,” Schaeuble told the Passauer Neue Presse in an interview, adding he respected the independence of the central banker.

Vir: Reuters

No, tukaj je uradni zapis govora Maria Draghija (objavljen na spletni strani ECB), ki se nanaša na vlogo fiskalne politike. V samem govoru pa je Draghi v resnici povedal še več in bolj odločno od zapisanega (tukaj je del govora in zabeležena odstopanja od zapisanega, ki se nanaša na politiko glede cenovne stabilnosti). Mar v nemški vladi ne znajo brati ali morda ne razumejo angleško?!

Za vsak primer navajam nekaj odlomkov iz uradnega zapisa Draghijevega govora (poudarki so moji):

On the fiscal side, non-market services – including public administration, education and healthcare – had contributed positively to employment in virtually all countries during the first phase of the crisis, thus somewhat cushioning the shock. In the second phase, however, fiscal policy was constrained by concerns over debt sustainability and the lack of a common backstop, especially as discussions related to sovereign debt restructuring began. The necessary fiscal consolidation had to be frontloaded to restore investor confidence, creating a fiscal drag and a downturn in public sector employment which added to the ongoing contraction in employment in other sectors.

Sovereign pressures also interrupted the homogenous transmission of monetary policy across the euro area. Despite very low policy rates, the cost of capital actually rose in stressed countries in this period, meaning monetary and fiscal policy effectively tightened in tandem. Hence, an important focus of our monetary policy in this period was – and still is – to repair the monetary transmission mechanism. Establishing a precise link between these impairments and unemployment performance is not straightforward. However, ECB staff estimates of the “credit gap” for stressed countries – the difference between the actual and normal volumes of credit in the absence of crisis effects – suggest that that credit supply conditions are exerting a significant drag on economic activity.

So what conclusions can we draw from this as policymakers? The only conclusion we can safely draw, in my view, is that we need action on both sides of the economy: aggregate demand policies have to be accompanied by national structural policies.

Demand side policies are not only justified by the significant cyclical component in unemployment. They are also relevant because, given prevailing uncertainty, they help insure against the risk that a weak economy is contributing to hysteresis effects. Indeed, while in normal conditions uncertainty would imply a higher degree of caution for fear of over-shooting, at present the situation is different. The risks of “doing too little” – i.e. that cyclical unemployment becomes structural – outweigh those of “doing too much” – that is, excessive upward wage and price pressures.

At the same time, such aggregate demand policies will ultimately not be effective without action in parallel on the supply side. Like all advanced economies, we are operating in a set of initial conditions determined by the last financial cycle, which include low inflation, low interest rates and a large debt overhang in the private and public sectors. In such circumstances, due to the zero lower bound constraint, there is a real risk that monetary policy loses some effectiveness in generating aggregate demand. The debt overhang also inevitably reduces fiscal space.

In this context, engineering a higher level and trend of potential growth – and thereby also government income – can help recover a margin for manoeuvre and allow both policies regain traction over the economic cycle. Reducing structural unemployment and raising labour participation is a key part of that. This is also particularly relevant for the euro area as, to list just one channel, higher unemployment in certain countries could lead to elevated loan losses, less resilient banks and hence a more fragmented transmission of monetary policy.

Boosting aggregate demand

On the demand side, monetary policy can and should play a central role, which currently means an accommodative monetary policy for an extended period of time. I am confident that the package of measures we announced in June will indeed provide the intended boost to demand, and we stand ready to adjust our policy stance further.

Turning to fiscal policy, since 2010 the euro area has suffered from fiscal policy being less available and effective, especially compared with other large advanced economies. This is not so much a consequence of high initial debt ratios – public debt is in aggregate not higher in the euro area than in the US or Japan. It reflects the fact that the central bank in those countries could act and has acted as a backstop for government funding. This is an important reason why markets spared their fiscal authorities the loss of confidence that constrained many euro area governments’ market access. This has in turn allowed fiscal consolidation in the US and Japan to be more backloaded.

Thus, it would be helpful for the overall stance of policy if fiscal policy could play a greater role alongside monetary policy, and I believe there is scope for this, while taking into account our specific initial conditions and legal constraints. These initial conditions include levels of government expenditure and taxation in the euro area that are, in relation to GDP, already among the highest in the world. And we are operating within a set of fiscal rules – the Stability and Growth Pact – which acts as an anchor for confidence and that would be self-defeating to break.

Let me in this context emphasise four elements.

First, the existing flexibility within the rules could be used to better address the weak recovery and to make room for the cost of needed structural reforms.

Second, there is leeway to achieve a more growth-friendly composition of fiscal policies. As a start, it should be possible to lower the tax burden in a budget-neutral way. [14] This strategy could have positive effects even in the short-term if taxes are lowered in those areas where the short-term fiscal multiplier is higher, and expenditures cut in unproductive areas where the multiplier is lower. Research suggests positive second-round effects on business confidence and private investment could also be achieved in the short-term. [15]

Third, in parallel it may be useful to have a discussion on the overall fiscal stance of the euro area. Unlike in other major advanced economies, our fiscal stance is not based on a single budget voted for by a single parliament, but on the aggregation of eighteen national budgets and the EU budget. Stronger coordination among the different national fiscal stances should in principle allow us to achieve a more growth-friendly overall fiscal stance for the euro area.

Fourth, complementary action at the EU level would also seem to be necessary to ensure both an appropriate aggregate position and a large public investment programme – which is consistent with proposals by the incoming President of the European Commission.

Vir: ECB



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