Forex Blog: Currency Trading News & Analysis.

March 7th 2008

Fed vs ECB

Yesterday, the European Central Bank (ECB) maintained its benchmark lending rate at 4%.  Meanwhile, America’s Federal Reserve Bank has cut rates by 2.25% over the last six months.  For years, the ECB existed entirely in the shadow of the Fed and conducted monetary policy accordingly, but in this latest downturn, it seems to have broken free. The reason for the split can be found in the Central Banks’ different mandates: the Fed aims to promote growth, while the ECB is charged primarily with creating price stability. Thus, the ECB can easily avoid succumbing to analysts’ expectations that it will ultimately lower rates.  In addition, while EU politicians are pressuring the ECB to hold down the common currency, the ECB’s mandate is actually supported by the expensive Euro because it lowers the cost of imports. The New York Times reports:

Mr. Trichet has long held that central banks do their best work when their threats to raise interest rates deter inflationary actions in the first place, avoiding the need for excessive swings in the benchmark rate.  [He] called this concept “credible alertness.”

Read More: In Europe, Central Banking Is Different

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Posted by Adam Kritzer | in Central Banks, Euro | No Comments »

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