MILAN (Reuters) – Board member Ignazio Visco said the European Central Bank should set a clearer inflation target and should attribute the opinions published in its minutes to the relevant policymakers for greater transparency.

Visco, who is governor of the Bank of Italy, told daily newspaper Il Corriere della Sera that the ECB’s current target of inflation below but close to 2% in the medium term was “vague and difficult to understand”.

“I think the target must be symmetrical,” he said in an interview published on Sunday.

“Levels of one percent or 1.5% are too low as we need flexibility margins to face crisis,” he said.

Visco said the ECB was studying a recent shift in U.S. central bank strategy which puts more focus on bolstering the labour market and less on lowering inflation.

“We are discussing ourselves on how to review our monetary policy strategy,” he said.

Visco also said the ECB should provide more clarity on its intentions and that opinions reported in its policy meeting minutes, now anonymous, might be explicitly attributed to those policymakers who expressed them.

“People need to know what each of us thinks and how we express it in the Council meetings,” he said, adding in was not positive that monetary policy decisions were followed by press releases by some national central banks or statement by policymakers.

September policy meeting minutes showed that the ECB might be more concerned about the epidemic-hit economy than analysts had previously thought, suggesting it could roll out more stimulus later this year.

“Monetary policy must remain expansive and be so for a long time,” he said.

(Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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MILAN (Reuters) – Board member Ignazio Visco said the European Central Bank should set a clearer inflation target and should attribute the opinions published in its minutes to the relevant policymakers for greater transparency.



Ignazio Visco wearing a suit and tie: FILE PHOTO: Ignazio Visco, governor of Bank of Italy, speaks during an event to launch the private finance agenda for the 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) at Guildhall in London


© Reuters/POOL
FILE PHOTO: Ignazio Visco, governor of Bank of Italy, speaks during an event to launch the private finance agenda for the 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) at Guildhall in London

Visco, who is governor of the Bank of Italy, told daily newspaper Il Corriere della Sera that the ECB’s current target of inflation below but close to 2% in the medium term was “vague and difficult to understand”.

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“I think the target must be symmetrical,” he said in an interview published on Sunday.

“Levels of one percent or 1.5% are too low as we need flexibility margins to face crisis,” he said.

Visco said the ECB was studying a recent shift in U.S. central bank strategy which puts more focus on bolstering the labour market and less on lowering inflation.

“We are discussing ourselves on how to review our monetary policy strategy,” he said.

Visco also said the ECB should provide more clarity on its intentions and that opinions reported in its policy meeting minutes, now anonymous, might be explicitly attributed to those policymakers who expressed them.

“People need to know what each of us thinks and how we express it in the Council meetings,” he said, adding in was not positive that monetary policy decisions were followed by press releases by some national central banks or statement by policymakers.

September policy meeting minutes showed that the ECB might be more concerned about the epidemic-hit economy than analysts had previously thought, suggesting it could roll out more stimulus later this year.

“Monetary policy must remain expansive and be so for

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The European Central Bank doesn’t need to ease policy further because measures taken to fight a pandemic-induced recession could boost the euro zone economy more than expected, ECB policymaker Jens Weidmann said.

Weidmann also expressed doubts about letting inflation overshoot after it has been low for too long, buying stocks or deliberately suppressing bond yields, in an interview with Boersen-Zeitung published on Wednesday.

The head of Germany’s Bundesbank and one of the ECB’s most conservative policymakers, Weidmann was countering calls for more stimulus from dovish rate setters like board member Fabio Panetta, in an internal ECB debate about the path ahead for a central bank that has missed its inflation goal for a decade.

“At the moment I see no reason to deviate from our assessment,” Weidmann said. “The monetary policy stance is currently appropriate.”

He argued the economy could perform better than the ECB’s baseline scenario, which put growth at 3.2% and inflation at 1.3% in 2022, because that did not include a 750 billion-euro package agreed by European Union leaders over the summer and French fiscal easing worth 100 billion euros.

Weidmann warned of likely legal trouble with Germany’s constitutional court if the ECB extended the exceptionally flexible terms of its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme to its regular bond purchases.

And he added he could not reconcile the purchase of shares by the ECB or the targeting of a specific level in sovereign bond yields — two measures deployed by the Bank of Japan — with a market economy and the central bank’s mandate.

The ECB is in the middle of reviewing its inflation goal of just under 2% after lagging behind it for a decade.

Some policymakers are debating whether to follow the lead of the U.S. Federal Reserve. The Fed said in August

By Francesco Canepa and Balazs Koranyi

FRANKFURT, Sept 30 (Reuters)European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde set the scene on Wednesday for changing the ECB’s strategy to align it with that of the Federal Reserve, possibly including a commitment to let inflation overshoot after it has been low for too long.

Inflation in the euro zone has missed the ECB’s target, currently set “below but close to 2%” for years despite increasingly aggressive stimulus from the central bank, which has pushed its main interest rate below zero and bought more than 3 trillion euros ($3.51 trillion) worth of assets.

In her first update on the ECB’s ongoing review of its strategy, Lagarde also opened the door to giving the central bank less time to achieve its elusive goal.

The ECB is widely expected to follow in the footsteps of the Fed, which said last month it would aim for 2% on average, so that periods when prices grow too slowly need to be compensated by times of faster increases, and vice versa.

“If credible, such a strategy can strengthen the capacity of monetary policy to stabilise the economy when faced with the lower bound,” Lagarde told an event.

Unlike the Fed, which has a dual role of achieving maximum employment and stable prices, the ECB’s sole goal is price stability over an unspecified “medium-term”.

But Lagarde called this mandate “hierarchical”, arguing that a flexible definition of medium term allowed it to avoid tightening policy and “unnecessarily constricting jobs and growth” in case of a temporary shock.

On the other hand, she added that the ECB’s persistent failure to meet the inflation target could feed into inflation expectations and would therefore “call for a shorter policy horizon”.

Both arguments would imply that the ECB needed to continue or even