Jun 01, 2020: The European Central Bank could announce Thursday hundreds of billions of euros in new bond-buying to keep fighting the pandemic crisis, analysts predict, as EU governments prepare to wrangle for months over a joint response.
While some policymakers have urged abandoning the ECB's self-imposed limits on buying government debt to stoke growth and inflation, the meeting is also the first since a ruling by Germany's Constitutional Court urging restraint of the central bank's powers.
“At a minimum, we think (governors) will add a further 500 billion euros” ($557 billion) to the 750-billion-euro Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP) decided in March, Capital Economics analyst Andrew Kenningham said.
If the ECB keeps up its present pace of buying government and corporate debt, “the total envelope will be exhausted by early October”, he added.
“The only questions are exactly what changes are announced and when.”
ECB board member Isabel Schnabel reiterated last week that the “size but also the composition and duration” of PEPP could all be increased, with some analysts forecasting an extension from the end of this year to September 2021.
As well as Thursday's policy moves, eyes will be on June's quarterly growth and inflation forecasts from ECB staff, as January-March figures were compiled before the virus struck.
Bank president Christine Lagarde last week predicted that the eurozone economy would contract by between eight and 12 percent in 2020, before a hoped-for strong rebound next year.