European Central Bank policymakers gathering last month expressed concern over the risk of a full-fledged trade war with the United States and fretted over the potentially harmful impact of the euro’s strength, the minutes of meeting showed.
With the euro zone economy growing for five straight years, policymakers are now debating how to wean the bloc off easy money and prepare investors for normalizing policy a decade after the global financial crisis sent central banks into crisis mode.
The ECB has so far moved by increments to dial back support. In March, it gave up a largely outdated pledge to raise asset buys if needed, a symbolic move that kept it on course to end its 2.55 trillion asset purchase program by the end of this year.
While the euro’s firming in recent months, partly due to fears over U.S. protectionism, has not significantly curtailed demand, policymakers called the exchange rate a “significant source” of uncertainty with some predicting a more negative impact on inflation.
“It was remarked that the recent movements in the euro exchange rate seemed to relate more to the relative monetary policy shocks, including communication, and less to improvements in the macroeconomic outlook,” the minutes showed.
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