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US - EU - Essay Example

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Educational institutions-explicitly including universities-are not philanthropic islands of abstract debate. This maxim of the German President is borne out by this colloquium, for this is not merely an 'abstract debate'. …
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Download file to see previous pages... Educational institutions--explicitly including universities--are not philanthropic islands of abstract debate. This maxim of the German President is borne out by this colloquium, for this is not merely an 'abstract debate'. And there can be no talk of an 'island', either, for this is a cross-border, joint meeting of SUERF and the CFS. Incidentally, the motive is the exchange of knowledge with the financial community including central banks, thus avoiding all suspicion of insular ivory-tower erudition. There can be no doubt that the financial community will likewise benefit from an exchange of knowledge.1 After all, the euro was and is an intellectual challenge for all those concerned with it. An interesting exchange of views is therefore to be expected, and a debate based on two fundamental perceptions may be fruitful:1) A consistent monetary policy, committed primarily to the target of stability, is the best contribution a central bank--no matter whether the Bundesbank or the European Central Bank (ECB)--can make to the viability of the financial markets. Without stable money, the financial markets cannot function properly.2) Conversely, it must also be said that monetary policy needs an efficient, highly competitive and stable financial system. In the first place, a financial sector that is susceptible to disruption poses risks to the entire monetary system, and thus also to the safety of the currency. Second, in a stable environment, monetary policy impinges on economic activity more smoothly. That was and is true of the Bundesbank's monetary policy.2 It is bound to apply to the European System of Central Banks' (ESCB's) monetary policy as well.
Clarity now obtains in some matters of significance to financial market players concerning the euro. The future framework for economic policy action is now emerging ever more clearly. Since its constitutive meeting in June 1998, the ECB Governing Council has taken a multitude of important decisions. There is broad clarity today about the arsenal of instruments with which the ESCB will operate. The primary buttress of refinancing will be repo transactions, which have been so successful at the national level. The interest rate for this main source of finance will lie within the corridor whose ceiling and floor are marked out by the interest rates for the marginal lending and deposit facilities. These principal elements of the range of instruments have been designed with the intention of the money market developing as steadily as possible, so that recourse to fine-tuning instruments can be relatively rare.
The same purpose is served by minimum reserves, which are often criticized in banking circles. At a rate of 2 per cent, the cost burden is kept within very narrow bounds, especially considering that, owing to the envisaged payment of interest on minimum reserves, the banks' working balances, which will have to be held anyway, will yield interest. In the envisaged form (a reserve to be maintained as a monthly average) they will act as a buffer in the money market. They can therefore largely cushion unforeseen fluctuations in the demand for liquid funds without any major central bank intervention.
A very important step on the way to a single monetary policy is the agreement on the main elements of the monetary policy strategy that was reached in the ECB Governing Council on 13 October 1998. These elements contain the quantitative definition of price stability as the primary objective of the single monetary policy: 'Price stability shall be defined as a year-on-year increase in the Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices for the euro area of below 2%.' By this decision, the ECB Governing Council is following up to a large degree the Bundesbank's successful strategy, while at the same time taking due account of the specific conditions ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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