Wed, May 10, 2017 - Page 10 News List

ECB to taper easing near to September: UBS’ Weber


UBS Group AG Chairman Axel Weber said he expects the European Central Bank (ECB) to move toward tapering its quantitative easing program near to September.

The comments by the former Bundesbank president come as ECB President Mario Draghi is under pressure to map out a path toward the end of the central bank’s massive stimulus. As the eurozone economy has picked up in recent months, ECB officials have been publicly debating when they might start to wind down their asset purchases and raise interest rates.

The ECB has to “scale back,” Weber said yesterday in a Bloomberg TV interview in Tokyo. “My expectation is that in June they will remove some of their easing biases that they still have in their language and around September they will probably announce that they are going to taper their purchase program, which they will do over six to nine months in 2018.”

The ECB last month said it intends to maintain its bond-buying at 60 billion euros (US$65.45 billion) per month until at least the end of this year and would only raise rates well after it ends.

The central bank will soon be able to adopt a more optimistic tone on the eurozone economy, ECB executive board member Yves Mersch said in a speech in Tokyo on Monday.

“Come mid-next year, we’ll probably have the ECB with a stable balance sheet and we will talk about interest rate movements after that,” Weber said. “The ECB is clearly on the path to normalization yet they are following the [US Federal Reserve] with some delay. Like the Fed, they are data driven, so if anything were to go wrong in the economy they might change that course.”

In China, Weber said the lender aims to be the top foreign bank and reiterated that it remains committed to doubling its employee headcount serving the second-largest economy over five years.

“We have all the licenses, we have a wholly owned subsidiary, and we work with Chinese counterparties,” Weber said. “We want to help expose Chinese investors to global assets so we bring the global asset base to China with our investment bank, asset management and wealth management and we help to give China exposure to global investors who are seeking that through Hong Kong-Shanghai stock connect or bond connect in the future.”

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