ECB gives up on bigger bond buys en route to stimulus exit

The European Central Bank dropped a long-standing pledge on Thursday to increase its bond buying if needed, taking another small step in weaning the euro zone economy off its protracted stimulus. Keeping its broader policy unchanged, the ECB said it could still extend its 2.55 trillion euro ($3.16 trillion) bond purchase scheme beyond September if needed. But it skipped a reference to bigger purchases, a signal that it remains on track to end a three-year-old stimulus scheme before the end of 2018.


RBA left interest rates on hold

The Reserve Bank of Australia has left the cash rate at a record-low 1.5 per cent, as sluggish wage growth and inflation put the board in a holding pattern for the 17th meeting in a row. Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe used the word "gradual" to describe Australia's economic recovery three times in his short statement on monetary policy on Tuesday, indicating the bank is in no rush to raise interest rates from their historic lows.


BoE's Ramsden sees case to raise rates sooner than he thought

The Bank of England might need to raise British interest rates somewhat sooner than Deputy Governor Dave Ramsden had expected if wage growth picks up early this year, according to a newspaper interview released on Saturday. Ramsden was one of two policymakers who opposed the BoE’s decision in November to raise interest rates for the first time in a decade, but appears to have shifted his stance somewhat in comments published by the Sunday Times newspaper.


With rates low, Fed officials fret over next U.S. recession

Federal Reserve policymakers are fretting that they could face the next U.S. recession with an arsenal of policies little different from that used in the last downturn but robbed of much of their punch because interest rates are still low. In the midst of an unprecedented leadership transition, Fed officials are publicly debating how to prepare for the next downturn. Should they scrap their approach to inflation targeting? How big of a balance sheet should they retain? How much further can they raise interest rates and still keep the economy on a growth path?


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