The European Central Bank clearly will announce some package of expansionary measures on Thursday – as well it should, given sustained below target inflation in the eurozone, and forecasts of further falls. The most important and promising policy it will announce is the one with the longest lead time: fostering a market in securitised lending in Europe, primarily for loans to small and medium-sized enterprises, through direct purchases of such asset-backed securities. This is absolutely the right initiative for the ECB to take because it is not only going to be effective (unlike limited interest rate cuts or very long-term refinancing of bank loans, also likely to be announced), but will address the right problems and do so with lasting structural benefits. Read more
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