Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bundesbank Board Member Thiele states ECB bond buying is illegal.

The report is linked here, and the following are significant quotes regarding the first public admission that this blog's assertion over many months that the ECB is at risk of incurring huge unplaceable debts have been fully justified:

Thiele recalled that the decision to buy Greek government bonds had found no support from German ECB Governing Council members. "Germany was over-ruled on the Council," Thiele said.
"These buys were a violation against the prohibition of monetary financing, that is the basic principle that a central bank should not give credit to a state," Thiele said in a speech text provided by the Bundesbank.
Thiele also appeared to argue that the ECB does not actually buy government bonds of Spain and Italy to ensure the monetary transmission mechanism, as the bank always asserts, but simply to lower the borrowing costs for Madrid and Rome.
The decision to buy Italian and Spanish bonds "in my view, was taken because the majority of the ECB [Council] thought interest rates of these countries too high," Thiele said.

These complaints, raised in Open Europe's daily news email today, add to the disquiet arising from the letter written by the ECB's former Chief Economist, Juergen Stark,  and revealed in Der Spiegel yesterday, linked here.

If the German member of the ECB Board and other officials opposed against the bond buying programmes and have all subsequently resigned as appears to be the case, where does the liability for the amounts on the face values of these bond purchases fall as one by one the issuers, led by Greece, begin to default? I suggest that Germany will argue it is not with them, what will that do for the credit ratings of the remaining members?

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