LONDON – On Thursday, Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, unveiled a package of measures that is designed to ease the strains in Europe's debt crisis and secure the future of the euro currency.
He announced that the central bank was creating a new bond-buying program, called Outright Monetary Transactions. The so-called OMT, which will replace the previous program, will see the ECB buying short-term bonds of of between one and three years and will have no limits.
Countries that have their bonds bought will have to accept certain conditions, which will be part-monitored by the International Monetary Fund. The bond purchases will not increase the money supply in the 17-country eurozone.
Here are some early responses from analysts.
— Benjamin Reitzes, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets:
The ECB did almost exactly what was expected, and in this case that's a positive. Today's announcement should help contain the crisis, but the weak economic outlook looms, and the ECB will need to ease policy further in the months ahead.
— Craig Erlam, market analyst at Alpari:
The next stumbling block will come when the countries request this aid which, as Draghi said, will come with strict conditions. There is likely to be long negotiations over these conditions with (Spanish Prime Minister) Mariano Rajoy and (Italian Premier) Mario Monti unwilling to take anything too severe given the harsh cuts and reforms already undertaken in both countries.
— Jens Larsen, chief European economist at RBC Capital Markets:
The ECB is clearly intent on reducing the risks of very nasty outcomes, but also ensuring that the pressure remains on governments.
— Marie Diron, senior economic adviser to the Ernst & Young eurozone forecast:
The ECB did not disappoint in its decision to start a vast bond purchase program. While we had little doubt that such a program would be announced, some of the details go beyond what we expected.
— Neil MacKinnon, global macro strategist at VTB Capital:
Without trying to be a "party pooper", suppressed borrowing costs certainly provide relief in the short term but do not resolve problems of solvency and debt unsustainability.
— Guy LeBas, chief fixed income strategist at Janney Capital Markets:
The program provides a small measure of additional liquidity support to countries that request and receive a bailout. It is not, however, designed to "rescue" EU sovereigns, but rather to ensure that the deterioration of sovereign credit quality doesn't result in a sharp drop in economic activity/deflation. Don't depend on the OMT as a cure-all for what ails continental Europe.