Key rate cut: "A hefty price to pay!"

Today, the European Central Bank (ECB) announced that it would be cutting key rates again: from 0.25 to 0.15 percent, bringing interest rates down to a new all-time low. As of today, banks will get their money from the central bank at virtually no charge. The effect that the ECB is hoping for: the financial sector will pass the cheap money on to the corporate sector and consumers in the form of loans. We spoke to Günther Thallinger, CEO of Allianz Investment Management (AIM), about the implications of this rate cut.

 

Does the ECB's approach make economic sense?

 

The European Central Bank wants to use this rate cut not only to lower the short-term interest rates but also to cut long-term interest rates. Furthermore, commercial banks will have to pay to keep money at central bank. On the one hand, this makes sense, because the level of new investment among European companies is still low. But the price we're paying as a result of these measures is a very hefty one - too hefty, in fact. You have to ask yourself: why is lending demand so low? It's time for Europe to finally make extensive structural changes to give companies more flexibility and make investments more attractive. Changing interest rates by 0.1 percentage points will not have any real impact in this respect.

 

Savers already feel that investing money is not worth their while. Inflation eats up any savings.

 

The ECB's strategy is basically an additional tax on savers. They are being called upon to help finance the euro crisis. And the fact that inflation has fallen as well serves as little consolation. The rate of inflation in the euro zone is only 0.5 percent.

 

What impact will the move have on Allianz?

 

Our investment portfolio has a long-term focus and is fully invested. We have the advantage of still having a large number of higher-yielding securities in our portfolio. Thanks to our long investment horizon, we can cushion the blow of the measures for some time to come. Our portfolio also has a global focus. There are markets where interest rates have already climbed slightly. And real assets like shares and real estate are still interesting options. So there is no need for our customers to worry.

Günther Thallinger, CEO of Allianz Investment Management (AIM)
Günther Thallinger, CEO of Allianz Investment Management (AIM)

As with all content published on this site, these statements are subject to our Forward Looking Statement disclaimer:

 

Stefanie Rupp-Menedetter
Allianz Group
Phone +49.89.3800-2063
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Michael Matern
​Allianz Group
Phone +49.89.3800-2960
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