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ECB to Cut Rates as Slump Calls for `Radical Action’

by Christian Vits

Nov. 6 (Bloomberg) — The European Central Bank will cut interest rates for the second time in less than a month today as the region’s economy suffers its worst slump in 15 years, economists said.

“It’s time for radical action,” said Ken Wattret, an economist at BNP Paribas SA in London. “This is a very severe economic downturn, interest rates should come down a long way.”

Obviously they still haven’t figured out lower rates will make matters worse, as lower rates cut government interest payments (it’s a spending cut) which removes income paid to the private sectors.

The only aspect that might help is the hope that the lower rates drive the currency lower. This is one of those ‘be careful what you wish for’ conditions.

First, with falling aggregate demand around the world, export growth will be problematic even with the lower real wages that come from a lower currency.

Second, a falling currency raises import prices and reduces real terms of trade, particularly for a large energy importer like the eurozone.

Third, anything that weakens the economy and lowers standards of living is socially dangerous.

Fourth, the problems of USD debt including USD losses growing as a % of euro based capital and income that have been driving the euro down remain and the risk of an acceleration of this process increases as the eurozone economies weaken.


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