A storm in Europe is brewing but 2017 is crunch time central bankers as they run out of options

Europe is under a huge amount of economic and political pressure, from everything from the immigration crisis, to the potential fallout from Greece’s debt deals.

On top of that a predicted US stock market crash of 75%, leading to a another potential massive global recession, as well as the China slowdown and dampened commodities markets, are all putting stress on central banks and what they should do next to help Europe from financially, and possibly politically, breaking apart.

But according to Mark Wall and his team at Deutsche Bank, we shouldn’t be worried about what’s happening this year — it’s 2017 that will be crunch time for the European Central Bank (emphasis ours):

Our concern is not 2016 but 2017. On current forecasts the fiscal stance will be less easy next year.

Since it is the change in the fiscal stance that correlates with economic growth, unless current plans change the fiscal impulse threatens to become negative for growth in 2017.

Rising oil prices, geopolitical risk and the fading benefits of the ECB’s monetary policies as time passes will add to recovery headwinds next year. If the global economic cycle fails to revive, the pressure will mount for an easier European policy stance.

The ECB has already slipped into some unprecedented forms of monetary policy.

Inflation and growth are stuck at low levels in the Eurozone after years of near-zero interest rates. The ECB left its deposit rate untouched at -0.40% at the end of April, following the latest meeting of the bank’s governing council.

Negative interest rates are intended to encourage borrowing, discourage upward pressure on currencies, and help trade. However, many analysts, such as those from the Bank for International Settlements and the Economist Intelligence Unit, have all warned about how these measures don’t seem to be working and central bankers are running out of options.

Central banks are talking about using so-called helicopter money — which involves creating new money and giving it directly to people to spend on whatever they want.

The ECB is also planning to cut all of its main rates and extending its programme of asset purchases to €80 billion per month, including buying corporate bonds for the first time, having previously restricted bond buying to government debt.

As it stands, banks have to pay money to leave deposits with the ECB — something it hopes will stir the big lenders to pump money into the economy, rather than keep it back and reduce their own deposit rates, forcing savers to go out and spend or invest their money, helping boost the eurozone’s rock bottom inflation.

One of the markets’ most renowned strategists — Albert Edwards from Societe Generale — also didn’t mince his words about the ECB.

In a note sent to clients by Societe Generale on Friday, Edwards said that he is “utterly depressed.” He calls the ECB’s QE programme quick fix “nonsense,” and stating wearily “I’’m not really sure how much more of this I can take.”

The subject of Edwards’ ire is the world’s central bankers, who have “painted themselves into a corner with their overconfident rhetoric and monetary experiments.”

So, if you think 2016 is shaping up to be a terrible year for Europe’s economy, it looks like next year will be even worse.

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