Official economist persuaded Europe to start asset purchases

Chris Papadopoullos
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THE FIRST ever set of timely minutes from the European Central Bank (ECB) reveal a divide among the rate-setters that was partly overcome by the ECB’s chief economist.

The minutes of the meeting – during which it was decided that the ECB would undertake a prog­ramme of quantitative easing – show how Peter Praet recalled the commitments made by the ECB in December. In December, the ECB said it would extend its stimulus measures if the outlook for in­flation had become worse.

He also says it could be argued that evidence clearly suggested there was a need to take action at the present meeting to provide further monetary stimulus.

Scepticism among some members was evident. Some argued government bond purchases should be only a last resort to bar an extremely adverse scenario. It is not known which members opposed the policy.