Posted by WARREN MOSLER on January 30th, 2012
Evidence of real progress will be a statement like:
‘Draghi sees no evidence of any possible channel from ECB loans to the economy’
Bank liquidity is something like wheels on a car.
Without wheels the car won’t function, but neither are wheels alone enough to make it go.
Banks are public/private partnerships, with govt’s role being liquidity provider, as private capital in the first loss position prices risk. And with unlimited liquidity provision comes the necessity of full regulation and supervision of the asset/capital side.
In the US the unlimited liquidity provision comes mainly via FDIC insured deposits, supplemented by funding from the Fed. The Fed is the liquidity provider of last resort for its member banks, while at the same time it uses the banking system’s cost of funds as its instrument of monetary policy.
The euro zone hasn’t figured this out yet.
The liquidity provider of last resort is the ECB, as it’s the ‘issuer of the currency’, and as such not itself liquidity constrained. The member nations are like the US states, and are necessarily liquidity constrained, and therefore not ‘empowered’ to be liquidity providers of last resort to their member banks.
So in that sense, as the bank funding by the ECB grows, it’s all gravitating towards what all other nations have in place. The problem is the euro zone leaders don’t understand that aspect of banking, as evidenced by the way they are resisting the shift to ECB funding, and, in fact, working towards moving banks away from ECB funding.
By Jana Randow and Simone Meier
Jan 28 (Bloomberg) — “Do we know that actually this money is going to finance the real economy? We don’t have evidence of this kind yet,” ECB President Mario Draghi told Davos. “There is a lag. We will have to see.” “We know for sure we have avoided a major, major credit crunch, a major funding crisis,” he said today. “You have parts of the euro area where credit is more or less normal, but you have other parts where credit is seriously contracting.” “If you take 0.5 trillion euros and then you take off the reimbursement of other short-term facilities by the banking system in December, you get a figure of roughly 220 billion euros, which is exactly the amount of bank bonds that were to come due in this period of time,” he said.