ECB Still Not the White Knight

The Wall Street Journal has the story on yesterday’s speech by ECB President Mario Draghi:

The ECB’s purchases of government bonds are “neither eternal, nor infinite,” Mr. Draghi said in a speech in Berlin, stressing it would take “a lot” more than monetary-policy measures to restore market confidence in the euro zone.

Asked whether the ECB should copy the U.K. and U.S. in printing money to buy government bonds, a policy known as quantitative easing, Mr. Draghi said: “I don’t see any evidence that quantitative easing leads to stellar economic performance” in those economies. EU treaties forbid monetary financing of government debt, he added.

This suggests Draghi believes quantitative easing should only be used if it delivers “stellar” economic performance.  This is depressing, not to mention severely misguided.  The appropriate metric should not be achieving a “stellar” economy, but what would have occurred in the absence of QE.  Hopefully, he will recognize this distinction should (when) the situation deteriorate further.

The combination of fiscal consolidation and ECB intransigence promises to keep the European crisis in the headlines for a long, long time.

This post originally appeared at Tim Duy’s Fed Watch and is posted with permission.