Can Germany cool its monetary-policy debate?

NOTHING INSPIRES German newspaper illustrators like the European Central Bank’s monetary policies. Bond-buying is represented as a tsunami of cash. An uptick in inflation becomes a euro-gulping great white shark. After Mario Draghi, the ECB’s outgoing president, pushed deposit-rate cuts and a promise to restart quantitative easing (QE) through its governing council last month, Bild, a tabloid, depicted him cloaked and fanged, as “Count Draghila”.

German complaints are long-standing. The ECB’s Strafzinsen (“punishment rates”) expropriate savers. Banks suffer from negative rates they cannot pass on to customers. Cheap money fuels housing bubbles. The ECB is stealthily extending its mandate beyond price stability to redistribution. This week Oliver Bäte, the boss of Allianz, Europe’s largest insurer, joined the attack, lambasting the ECB in an interview with the Financial Times for “multiplying risk”.

Some fear such attacks risk weakening support for the single currency in its largest economy. But criticism from mainstream German politicians is now more muted than in 2016, when Wolfgang Schäuble, a former finance minister, blamed easy money for the rise of far-right populism. Inside the ECB council, the idea of sometimes using unorthodox monetary tools...

via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

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