FRANKFURT—The European Central Bank is ready to boost its stimulus in March if needed, but central bank action shouldn’t be seen as a “magic wand” to solve problems in the eurozone’s economy, a member of the ECB’s Governing Council said.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, Bostjan Jazbec, the head of Slovenia’s central bank, warned against reacting too hastily to developments that might be temporary.
“If necessary we would act,” said Mr. Jazbec referring to the central bank’s next monetary policy meeting on March 10th. “But defining what is necessary would definitely come after the thorough analysis of data that would be on the table in March.”
The comments underline the debate taking place within the ECB over how to respond to a sharp drop in oil prices and turbulence in emerging markets.
ECB President Mario Draghi surprised markets two weeks ago with a signal that the central bank would seriously consider bolstering its stimulus at its next meeting. Earlier Thursday, Mr. Draghi reiterated the case for more easing, saying that central banks “cannot be relaxed” in the face of a series of shocks to commodity prices.
However Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann, an influential member of the ECB’s 25-member governing council, warned last week that central banks shouldn’t overreact to a temporary drop in oil prices.
Inflation in the currency bloc was most recently recorded at 0.4% in annual terms, well off the central bank’s medium-term target of just below 2%. It is expected to be even lower in coming months following a sharp drop in oil prices.
“For me, it is completely unjustifiable to say that central banks, and the ECB, can do everything on their own,” Mr. Jazbec said.
ECB policy makers need a “more comprehensive view on data,” he said. “We should not jump immediately on events which might or might not prove to be long lasting.”‎
Still, he said the bank has the tools to reach its medium-term inflation target of just below 2%.
“There are still a lot of instruments you can put on the table, but we have to have serious [support] from other policies, which in my view are still…in some cases seriously lacking,” he said.
Mr. Jazbec also took issue with those who say that the low interest rate environment is damaging Europe’s banks. He said that the current environment encouraged consolidation in the sector that could make banks more efficient and help pass through ultralow interest rates to firms and households in the currency bloc.
The Slovenian central banker also voiced support for eliminating the €500 ($560) bank note, which is often linked to organized crime. Mr. Draghi said Monday in Strasbourg that the central bank’s permanent six-person executive board was examining the future of high-denomination bank notes.
Mr. Jazbec said he saw “a lot of rationale for eliminating the high denominations of notes.” He said that if this were decided, it could help the fight against both terrorism and tax avoidance.
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This article originally appeared at TradeQQ.