Business World

Monday 22 July 2019

ECB executives want minutes published to 'educate market'

Stefan Riecher

Two European Central Bank executive board members said the minutes from policy meetings should be published, adding to signs that the ECB may soon follow other major central banks in taking the step to increase transparency.

"Transparency is important for the effectiveness of monetary policy," Benoit Coeure said in a join interview with Joerg Asmussen in 'Sueddeutsche Zeitung' and 'Le Figaro' yesterday. The minutes should state which policy makers voted for which measures, Mr Asmussen said.

The ECB's current rules, introduced under its first president, Wim Duisenberg, stipulate it should only publish minutes 30 years after the respective meeting.

The Federal Reserve, Bank of England and Bank of Japan all release minutes within a matter of weeks.

While publication has been discussed since last year, the debate has gained intensity this month. The ECB's chief economist, Peter Praet, told Germany's 'Handelsblatt' earlier this month that "sooner or later, we should publish the minutes".

ECB President Mario Draghi stepped up communication on July 4 by pledging to keep interest rates low for an extended period, citing increased volatility in markets.

Bond yields had surged after Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said on June 19 that the Fed may start paring back its monetary stimulus.

"The ECB has been frustrated for a while with constant market speculation on what the next steps could be," said Richard Barwell, senior European economist at Royal Bank of Scotland in London. "Markets constantly overreact and don't fully understand what they actually want to do. Publishing minutes would be about educating the market."

A consensus to release the minutes may not be reached this week, when central bankers gather in Frankfurt before the next policy announcement on August 1.

"Every majority starts as a minority," Mr Asmussen said in the 'Sueddeutsche' interview. "The discussion in the governing council is still ongoing."

Irish Independent

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