Blog Post

Negative ECB deposit rate: But what next?

The main question for Thursday is what other measures will be deployed by the ECB’s Governing Council, and perhaps even more importantly, if Mr Draghi's communication will pave the way for further actions, such as asset purchases.

By: and Date: June 5, 2014 Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance

See also policy contribution ‘Addressing weak inflation: The European Central Bank’s shopping list‘, comment ‘Easier monetary policy should be no worry to Germany‘ and analysis ‘Negative deposit rates: The Danish experience’.

There are widespread expectations that the ECB will cut its interest rates today. Both the current 0.25 percent ECB main refinancing rate and the current zero percent deposit rate, which banks receive when depositing liquidity at the ECB, are expected to be marginally reduced. The latter would imply a negative deposit rate, meaning that banks would have to pay interest for placing a deposit at the central bank.

Figure 1 shows that the banks’ deposits at the ECB are declining steadily. Moreover, when the deposit rate was reduced to zero in mid-2012, banks shifted half of their deposits to excess reserves. Since currently banks can hold excess reserves on their current account at the ECB at zero interest, a negative deposit rate should therefore be accompanied by the same negative interest rate on excess reserves or a cap on excess reserves holdings, to avoid the shifting of all deposits to excess reserves.

With the normalization of money markets and the repayment of the 3-year longer term refinancing operations (LTRO), the sum of banks’ deposits and excess reserves may return to their pre-crisis close-to-zero values. A negative deposit rate may even accelerate the repayment of the LTRO. Therefore, the direct impact of a negative deposit rate, in terms of changing the incentives to hold deposits and excess reserves, would be minimal.

Figure 1: The ECB’s interest rate on the deposit facility (percent), banks’ deposits at the ECB’s deposit facility (in EUR bn) and banks’ excess reserves at the ECB (in EUR bn), 1 January 2007 to 3 June 2014

Source: updated from Claeys, Darvas, Merler and Wolff (2014) using ECB data. Note: banks’ excess reserve is the reserves banks hold at their current account with the ECB minus the minimum reserve requirement. Due to huge volatility of daily data, we use a 30-day moving average.

The Danish central bank adopted a negative deposit rate between July 2012 and April 2014. The main objective of the Danish negative deposit rate was to reverse the appreciation of the Danish krona exchange rate, which to a large extent originated from capital flight from the euro area to Denmark, due to the euro crisis (see our earlier post on Denmark here). The ECB has a different goal: boosting inflation and inflationary expectations.

After the introduction of negative deposit rate in Denmark, the Danish Krona depreciated against the euro by about half a percent from 7.43 to 7.46. However, the Danish evidence suggests that the rate cut did not lead to changes in retail interest rates, nor an increase in bank lending.

These findings and the small and declining amount of deposits at the ECB (Figure 1) suggest that a negative ECB deposit rate may not change retail interest rates and bank lending in the euro area. At best, it could weaken a bit the exchange rate of the euro, if the rate cut is not yet fully priced in. But a small change in the exchange may not have a big impact on inflation either.

The main question for Thursday is what other measures will be deployed by the ECB’s Governing Council, and perhaps even more importantly, if Mr Draghi’s communication will pave the way for further actions, such as asset purchases.


Republishing and referencing

Bruegel considers itself a public good and takes no institutional standpoint. Anyone is free to republish and/or quote this post without prior consent. Please provide a full reference, clearly stating Bruegel and the relevant author as the source, and include a prominent hyperlink to the original post.

Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Podcast

Podcast

Did the Eurogroup save the day?

After its longest meeting ever, the Eurogroup reached an agreement yesterday evening. What does the agreement say? What does it mean in terms of the emergency reaction to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic? What does it mean, more broadly, for the future of Europe? This week, Giuseppe Porcaro is joined by Maria Demertzis, André Sapir and Guntram Wolff to discuss whether the Eurogroup can save the day.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: April 10, 2020
Read article More on this topic
 

Opinion

The perils of more debt

Europe must find the “Ways and Means”.

By: Maria Demertzis and Nicola Viegi Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: April 10, 2020
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

The Sound of Economics Live: Can the Eurogroup save the day?

In this episode of The Sound of Economics, we analyse the Eurogroup's 'rescue plan' amidst the economic fallout brought about by the COVID-19 health crisis.

Speakers: Maria Demertzis, Giuseppe Porcaro, André Sapir and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: April 10, 2020
Read article Download PDF More by this author
 

External Publication

European Parliament

Promoting product longevity

How can the EU product safety and compliance framework help promote product durability and tackle planned obsolescence, foster the production of more sustainable products, and achieve more transparent supply chains for consumers? Product longevity can play a useful role in achieving the Paris Agreement goals – material efficiency is an important contributor to energy efficiency and is also important in its own right. The product safety and compliance instruments available at European level can contribute to these efforts, if wisely applied.

By: J. Scott Marcus Topic: Energy & Climate, European Macroeconomics & Governance, European Parliament Date: April 9, 2020
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Blog Post

COVID-19: The self-employed are hardest hit and least supported

Self-employed workers are hardest-hit by COVID-19 lockdowns. Yet they often receive less government support than salaried employees. Is the disparity justified?

By: Julia Anderson Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: April 8, 2020
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Blog Post

Social distancing: did individuals act before governments?

Using online searches for restaurants as a proxy to assess whether and to what extent individuals were practicing social distancing before strict lockdown measures, we identify substantial differences between countries. In some countries, including Denmark and Portugal, searches for restaurants were considerably down before restaurant restrictions were put in place. Countries where social distancing started earlier, regardless of when policies were enacted, can expect a flatter coronavirus curve.

By: Catarina Midões Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: April 7, 2020
Read about event More on this topic
 

Upcoming Event

Apr
21
13:00

The role of Cohesion policy in the fight against COVID-19 with Elisa Ferreira

How can cohesion funds help the National, regional and local communities that are on the frontline in countering the coronavirus and the resulting economic crisis.

Speakers: Jim Brunsden, Maria Demertzis and Elisa Ferreira Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

A European response to the coronavirus crisis with Paolo Gentiloni

This is the second event in our series with the Financial Times, where Paolo Gentiloni will discuss the European response to the coronavirus crisis.

Speakers: Paolo Gentiloni, Mehreen Khan and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: April 6, 2020
Read article More on this topic
 

Opinion

A European approach to fund the coronavirus cost is in the interest of all

We had not seen a common challenge as clear as this pandemic. The sum of national actions and programs is likely to be insufficient.

By: Agnès Bénassy-Quéré, Arnoud Boot, Elena Carletti, Jan Krahnen, Miguel Otero-Iglesias, Lucrezia Reichlin, Dirk Schoenmaker and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: April 6, 2020
Read about event
 

Upcoming Event

Apr
23
13:00

Tackling the rise of cybercrime amid COVID-19 with Ylva Johansson

How can the European Union fight the cybercriminals that are exploiting the coronavirus crisis?

Speakers: Ylva Johansson and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Opinion

A temporary, common fiscal stimulus to answer the mayhem of COVID-19

We are not in normal times and we have to surpass, albeit only for the duration of the COVID-19 shock, the hurdles that did not allow the euro-area to endow itself of a common fiscal policy.

By: Francesco Papadia Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: April 2, 2020
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Opinion

Will the economic strategy work?

Because even thriving companies can be killed in a matter of weeks by a recession of the magnitude now confronting the world, advanced-economy governments have reacted in a remarkably similar fashion to the COVID-19 crisis. But extending liquidity lifelines to private businesses and supporting idled workers assumes a short crisis.

By: Jean Pisani-Ferry Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: April 1, 2020
Load more posts