Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, a European Central Bank executive board member, thinks too much attention is being paid to US/European differences over monetary policy. As a result, the rest of the world is being ignored.
“Many important emerging market economies either do not have any monetary policy at all, because they have pegged their exchange rate to the currency of an advanced economy, or impose capital controls and restrict the international use of their own currency,” he has just argued in a speech in Washington.
With not much to decide at Thursday’s meeting - its strategy remained unchanged in spite of talk of further “quantitative easing” in the US and UK - the European Central Bank’s governing council embarked on what Jean-Claude Trichet, ECB president, described as a “literary exercise” to trim back the introductory statement he reads at each monthly press conference. I am not sure the results were entirely successful.
Vítor Constâncio, the vice-president, sitting next to Mr Trichet, looked pained when I described some of the new language as rather tortured. But I stand by my case.