Ezquiaga, Ignacio


Higher interest rates, excess liquidity and the ECB’s balance sheet

Although the ultimate price stability target has not changed and overnight interest rates remain the channel for policy transmission to the economy, the ECB’s balance sheet has taken on greater purpose relative to its traditional role as a support instrument for monetary policy. Against this backdrop, with the ECB now embarked on the path of policy “normalisation”, it is timely to assess whether it is possible to return to the way things were before 2007, given that excess liquidity is determined by factors exogenous to monetary policy and can coexist with it indefinitely, even if policy is restrictive, as it is today.

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Euro yield curve evolution and real long-term rates

Assessing the recent evolution of euro interest rates reveals that following the significant upward shift in short-term rates since the summer of 2021, long-term rates may have already stabilised at restrictive levels. Under this scenario, as short-term rates keep increasing, longer-term rates could gradually stabilise, generating a downward sloping yield curve.

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