The European Central Bank I should upload the interest rates in July to prevent high inflation from taking hold, the head of the Bundesbank said on Tuesday, Joachim Nageljoining a long list of those responsible for monetary politics calling for a rapid rise in the cost of credit.
With inflation soaring to a record 7.5% last month, monetary authorities are increasingly advocating a swift withdrawal of stimulus, and several of them, such as the member of the Council of Government Isabel Schnabelhave advocated a rate hike as early as July.
Nagel, a newcomer to the ECB’s Governing Council, said the ECB should initially end bond purchases, known as quantitative easing, by the end of June, and then start raising the deposit fee which stands at -0.5% at its next meeting.
“If both the incoming data and our new projection confirm this theory in June, I will advocate for a first step of normalizing ECB interest rates in July,” Nagel said.
A rise in the cost of borrowing in July would be a notable turnaround for the ECB.
Just a few months ago, the bank said such a move was “highly unlikely” and now some, like the head of the French central bank, François Villeroy de Galhauare calling for rates to rise back into positive territory this year, which would likely require three hikes of 25 basis points each.
Nagel said the ECB needed to act quickly because a delay would force it to be more blunt later on.
“The risk of acting too late is increasing markedly,” he said. “The more inflationary pressures spread, the greater the need for a very strong and sharp rise in interest rates.”
Although inflation is mainly fueled by rising energy prices, there are “worrying signs” that price increases are gaining momentum and are becoming more widespread, Nagel said.
Inflation expectations are also rising, according to various surveys of households and businesses, Nagel added.
“All of this suggests that higher inflation rates will prevail in the near future and that inflation expectations may be less anchored,” Nagel said.
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