ECB gives euro zone new shot in arm to fight pandemic

FILE PHOTO: European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde arrives for the second day of the European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium December 13, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

December 10, 2020

By Balazs Koranyi and Francesco Canepa

FRANKFURT (Reuters) -The European Central Bank rolled out yet more stimulus measures on Thursday to lift the currency bloc out of a double-dip recession and provide support to the economy while its 350 million people wait for coronavirus vaccines to be deployed.

With many businesses shuttered, unemployment surging and debt hitting record highs, central bank cash has thrown governments and firms a lifeline this year but much of 2021 will pass before significant relief is likely.

Making good on its promise to keep supporting the economy during the pandemic, the ECB expanded its debt purchase scheme and agreed to provide banks with even more ultra-cheap liquidity as long as they keep passing the cash onto companies.

ECB President Christine Lagarde said consumers remained nervous and business investment vulnerable to further ebbs in confidence, making any recovery patchy and uneven at best.

“Incoming data and our staff projections suggest a more pronounced near-term impact of the pandemic on the economy and a more protracted weakness in inflation than previously envisaged,” she told a news conference.

The bank released new projections putting euro area growth next year at 3.9% compared to an earlier forecast of 5.5%, but accelerating to 4.2% in 2022 from a previous estimate of 3.2%.

After ticking along at 1.0% next year, inflation was now seen barely rising to 1.1% in 2022, down from an earlier forecast of 1.3%.

Lagarde expressed the hope that, by the end of 2021, mass coronavirus vaccination will have created sufficient immunity for the region’s huge services sector to get back to some level of normality, but added a note of caution.

“Uncertainty remains high,” she said. “We continue to stand ready to adjust all our instruments as appropriate.”

The ECB increased the overall size of its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme by 500 billion euros to 1.85 trillion euros, in line with market expectations. It also extended the scheme by nine months to March 2022, with the aim of keeping government and corporate borrowing costs at record lows.

Reinvestments of cash maturing from the emergency bond purchase scheme were extended by one year until the end of 2023.

The ECB also extended the period during which banks will get a 1% interest rate from the central bank for borrowing at its long-term cash auctions by one year to June 2022.

Aiming to give banks ample liquidity, the ECB will also hold three additional tenders for three-year loans with the last one now scheduled for December 2021, it added.

In further help to banks, exceptionally easy collateral requirements that were introduced in the spring were also extended until June 2022.


The stimulus expansion comes as the 19-country euro zone struggles to balance a growing range of short-term risks against improving long term prospects.

The immediate future carries the prospect of a triple shock — a lingering second wave of the pandemic, a hard Brexit and a delay in the European Union’s 750 billion euro ($908 billion) recovery fund, due to be discussed at an EU summit on Thursday.

But all three are seen as temporary shocks, with the political strife likely to be resolved and the pandemic easing by the spring, leaving the ECB with the task of getting the bloc through a difficult winter.

The success of a vaccine meanwhile has improved longer-term prospects and policymakers have already expressed confidence that life could be returning to normal by the second half of 2021 as immunization reaches a critical level.

The new measures, similar in vein to past stimulus, are unlikely to push borrowing costs much lower as the ECB has argued that its job was to keep borrowing costs around record lows for longer, rather than to reduce them further.

($1 = 0.8263 euros)

(Editing by Catherine Evans)

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ECB adds €500B to coronavirus stimulus, eases bank funding conditions – POLITICO

The European Central Bank expanded its coronavirus-related bond purchasing by €500 billion and extended its term by nine months to March 2022.

The move on Thursday brings the total of the ECB’s Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program (PEPP) to €1.85 trillion.

The Frankfurt authority left its other bond-buying and interest rates unchanged, with the lowest at negative 0.5 percent.

The central bank also extended the availablity of ultra-cheap loans to bank by a year, until June 2022.

ECB President Christine Lagarde will give further details in a press conference.

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ECB sees lower inflation but growth outlook brighter: de Guindos

FILE PHOTO: Vice-President of the European Central Bank (ECB) Luis de Guindos gives a statement during the second day of the Informal Meeting of EU Ministers for Economics and Financial Affairs in Berlin, Germany September 12, 2020. Odd Andersen/Pool via REUTERS

November 28, 2020

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ECB accused by John Holder and Ismail Dawood of ‘institutionalised racism’

Ismail Dawood (left) is a former county wicketkeeper

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has been accused by two former umpires of “institutionalised racism”, in the latest allegations to surface in the sport.

John Holder, who officiated in Test and one-day international matches, said it looked “more than suspicious” he had not received a reply from the ECB when offering to be a mentor.

Ismail Dawood, meanwhile, said he had heard racist language used in front of senior ECB staff, which went unchallenged.

The pair have asked for an independent investigation from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) “to challenge organisations like the ECB”.

Former wicketkeeper Dawood, who played county cricket for Worcestershire, Glamorgan and Yorkshire before becoming an umpire, said he had “absolutely no trust or confidence in the ECB” and the organisation is a “complete mess”.

The last black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) umpire to be added to the ECB’s first-class list was Vanburn Holder 28 years ago. There have been none since his retirement in 2010.

An ECB spokesperson told BBC Sport: “Today’s group of professional umpires don’t reflect the diverse ECB we are determined to be.

“We want to see more BAME representation among our officials, and recognise we still have a long way to go as a game to achieve this.”

BBC Sport understands a person who used discriminatory language in front of senior managers was suspended, but cleared of wrongdoing.

Dawood, who stood on the ECB reserve list and umpired first-class matches, said: “If that sort of language was used elsewhere, people would lose their jobs.

“I have absolutely no trust or confidence in the ECB. All the way down to the grassroots it is a complete mess and that is why we need it to be investigated. Do I want to be part of an organisation who is a complete mess? No.

“In one performance review, I was told ‘fine judgements must be made about who best fits in’.

“The complaints we have made shows the institutionalised, structured racism as well as discrimination, cronyism, bullying and dishonesty that has been part of our lives being involved in the ECB.”

Holder, meanwhile, says he raised the issue he had not received a response to his email.

Asked if he believes there is institutionalised racism at the ECB, he said: “I have no reason to doubt that there is.

“The fact that several non-white umpires have made enquiries about going on the first-class umpires panel, or becoming a mentor or liaison officer, and none have progressed.”

Their allegations come following Azeem Rafiq’s claim of “institutional racism” at his former club Yorkshire, who have opened an inquiry.

And earlier this year former England batsman Michael Carberry said he does not “expect anything” from the ECB in fighting racism, which he says is “rife” in the sport.

Dawood said: “There are systematic blockages which have been put in place by the ECB and will be kept in place if they are not thoroughly investigated.

“We are having minimal representation of BAME cricket players, coaches, umpire/officials, CEOs. The list goes on. This is from the grassroots level upwards. The barriers that Asian or black people have is far greater than non-BAME people.

“Some of the stories coming out this year have been harrowing. People are not coming out and talking and making things up, so we want the Equality and Human Rights Commission to look into sport as a whole but cricket is our sport.

“We implore the EHRC to look into the structures of the ECB and put them under investigation. They need to challenge organisations like the ECB to act, we don’t want words, we have had lots of words, we want action.”

In its statement, the ECB added: “Earlier this year, we commissioned a full independent employment investigation into allegations made against an individual, and while these were not upheld, the investigation did identify areas where we need to be better and do more to be inclusive and diverse.

“The ECB has now commissioned a review, with board oversight, to look at how we can reform our approach to managing match officials.

“This will set out actions as to how we can improve our systems and processes to increase the diversity of umpiring, inspire the next generation of umpires and match referees, have a world-class umpiring programme and ensure a culture of inclusivity and fairness throughout the umpiring system.”

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ECB Stimulus, BOJ Cuts Growth Forecast, G-20 Talks Debt: Eco Day

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Fresh lockdowns for outbreak-stricken parts of Europe raise the prospect of a stimulus surprise from the European Central Bank; here’s the ECB decision day guideThe Bank of Japan on Thursday cut its growth forecast for the current year while keeping its key interest rates and asset purchases unchanged amid high virus uncertaintyThe U.S. is sowing turmoil at the World Trade Organization with its veto of the front-runner for the top postThe G-20 plans to hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss debt relief on Nov. 13The Bank of Canada pared back bond purchases and reinforced its commitment to keep interest rates at historical lows; Brazil kept its low-rate guidance as markets see inflation riskThe U.S. goods-trade gap unexpectedly narrowed on a drop in imports In this week’s Stephanomics podcast, Bloomberg renewables reporter Jess Shankleman reports from London and Host Stephanie Flanders talks with economist and policymaker Lord Nicholas Stern about how he thinks addressing climate change can be a sustainable route to growth

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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ECB can’t be complacent as only partial progress made on inflation: Lane

FILE PHOTO: European Central Bank Chief Economist Philip Lane speaks during a Reuters Newsmaker event in New York, U.S., September 27, 2019. REUTERS/Gary He/File Photo

September 11, 2020

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Inflation will persistently undershoot the European Central Bank’s target for years to come and a strong euro will further dampen price pressures, leaving no room for complacency, ECB chief economist Philip Lane said on Friday.

Writing in a blog post a day after the ECB left its policy unchanged and took an unexpectedly benign view on growth and inflation, Lane warned that the deflationary impact of a historic recession has only been partially offset.

Lane’s comments that more data in the coming months would help calibrate policy could also reinforce market expectations that the ECB will expand its 1.35 trillion euro ($1.6 trillion) Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme later this year.

“Inflation remains far below the aim and there has been only partial progress in combating the negative impact of the pandemic on projected inflation dynamics,” Lane said in blog post.

“It should be abundantly clear that there is no room for complacency.

He said inflation could remain negative for the rest of the year but also noted that figures for August, which included an unexpectedly big drop in underlying inflation, were distorted.

Still, he pointed to the impact of the strong euro as another factor that will prove a drag on prices.

“The recent appreciation of the euro exchange rate dampens the inflation outlook,” Lane said. “Headline inflation is expected to remain persistently low over the medium-term, notwithstanding a gradual pick-up over the projection horizon.

ECB President Christine Lagarde argued on Thursday that the euro would be “monitored carefully”, a disappointing statement for many, who had expected a stronger comments to talk down the currency.

($1 = 0.8450 euros)

(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Alex Richardson and David Clarke)

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England should ‘definitely’ tour Pakistan says new ECB chair

England should “definitely” tour Pakistan provided it it is safe to do so, according to new England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chairperson Ian Watmore.

England have not visited Pakistan since 2005/06. An attack by armed militants on Sri Lanka’s team bus in Lahore in 2009 ended major cricket tours for a decade, with Pakistan forced to play ‘home’ matches in the United Arab Emirates.

But other countries have since made the trip, with England scheduled to return to Pakistan in 2022.

English players have also taken part in the Pakistan Super League.

Both Pakistan and the West Indies, two of world cricket’s financially poorer nations, have helped spare the ECB losses that could have totalled hundreds of millions of pounds by going ahead with tours of England even when Britain was badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

“It would be brilliant for us and for the game there to get cricket back on,” said Watmore on Tuesday, just hours before Pakistan’s tour concludes with the third Twenty20 international against England at Old Trafford.

“With Pakistan back hosting cricket we should definitely go and tour there if it’s at all safe to do so.”

In his first day in post since succeeding Colin Graves, the 62-year-old Watmore, a former businessman and civil servant, who was briefly chief executive of England’s governing Football Association, also discussed the financial problems facing the ECB a a result of Covid-19 during a wide-ranging media conference.

Even though Pakistan and the West Indies, as well as Australia and Ireland, have all come over for behind closed doors series, the ECB is still facing a Pound 100 million shortfall and Watmore said job cuts at the board were “inevitable”.

The coronavirus has delayed the introduction of the controversial ‘Hundred’ competition but Watmore defended the new 100-balls per side tournament as a way of attracting new audiences and for its role in helping to professionalise domestic women’s cricket.

Graves suggested six of England’s existing 18 first-class counties might no longer play red-ball cricket in future but Watmore said he thought that each one could remain active across all formats, while “developing England players of the future”.

“Each county can play its part in the future of English cricket in addition to playing in the core tournaments,” he said.

“If the economics and performance standards don’t allow that, or the individual counties decide they want to do something different, then that is a conversation, but it is not where I’m coming from as I come into this job.”

With the retirement of Lord Kamlesh Patel, the ECB board is now entirely composed of white members, something Watmore said was “not acceptable in the long run”.

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ECB appoints Tim Macdonald as England Women’s senior assistant coach

London [UK], Aug 5 (ANI): England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Wednesday announced that former Western Australia and Tasmania seamer Tim Macdonald has been appointed as England Women’s new senior assistant coach.

“Macdonald, who previously worked with Head Coach Lisa Keightley at Perth Scorchers and Western Fury, took up the role on an interim basis across the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup earlier this year and has since been awarded the job on a full-time basis,” ECB said in a statement.

The 39-year-old joined up with the squad on Tuesday at the Incora County Ground, Derby as the group continued their summer preparations with a bio-secure training camp.

Keightley said Macdonald was a great addition across the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia.

“I’ve known Tim for a while and I’ve worked with him previously and I knew what skills he would bring to the group, especially with the fast bowlers,” ECB’s official website quoted Keightley as saying.

“He was a great addition across the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia and when it came to interview he was the stand-out candidate in terms of helping the team continue their improvement,” Keightley added. (ANI)

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Jofra Archer: England bowler fined and given written warning by ECB

England pace bowler Jofra Archer has been fined and given a written warning by the England and Wales Cricket Board for breaching bio-secure protocols.

The 25-year-old visited his home in Hove on Monday during his journey from Southampton, where the first Test against West Indies was played, to Manchester, the venue for the second.

Archer was dropped from the squad for the second Test, although he can rejoin the squad on Tuesday and is available for the third Test.

Archer’s return to the England team is dependant on him returning two negative tests for coronavirus during a five-day period of isolation which began on Thursday.

The disciplinary hearing on Friday evening was chaired by England director of cricket Ashley Giles and was attended by Archer’s agent and a representative from the Professional Cricketers’ Association.

The size of the fine has not been disclosed.

Giles said on Thursday that Archer’s trip home included meeting a person who has since tested negative for coronavirus.

Sussex bowler Archer was due to be the only member of the England pace attack beaten in the first Test that retained his place for the second.

Although he is now clear to play in the third, which begins on Friday, England’s plans to rotate their fast bowlers for the third of six Tests in seven weeks may mean he misses out.

Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran are in the team for the second Test at Emirates Old Trafford, James Anderson and Mark Wood have been rested, and Ollie Robinson and Olly Stone are pushing for inclusion.

Before the disciplinary hearing, England vice-captain Ben Stokes said the team were mindful of Archer’s well-being during his period of isolation a hotel room at the ground.

“We understand that it can be a very vulnerable and lonely place for him right now,” Stokes told BBC Test Match Special.

“Making sure that Jof is as happy as he possibly can be is the main thing for us. We need to do everything we can to make sure we keep him going.”

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ECB cancel Dynamos Cricket and some national competitions

London [UK], June 26 (ANI): England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Thursday cancelled the Dynamos Cricket and some national competitions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“As we continue to work towards recreational cricket returning on or around July 4, though, it has become clear that given the current restrictions we will sadly be unable to run certain elements of the scheduled 2020 cricket season. This includes Dynamos Cricket and some National Competitions,” ECB said in a statement.Many of these tournaments would require rescheduling, which logistically could make it difficult for clubs to arrange other cricket.

“With a condensed summer resulting in fixture challenges, we have taken the decision to cancel the below competitions to ensure that all players have an opportunity to play,” the statement read.

“In addition, to ensure maximum flexibility for all clubs pursuing a return to action and because we believe it is safer for clubs and players to reduce their amount of travel we will be prioritising local playing opportunities over National and Regional competitions,” it added.

The cancelled tournaments include National Counties Championship (Three-day cricket), National County Showcase Fixtures v First-Class Counties, Royal London Club Championship, Vitality Men’s Club T20 Cup and Plate, Vitality Women’s Club T20 Cup and Plate, U18 Boys County Championship, U17 Super Fours, Royal London Boys County Age Group Under 14, 15 and 18 Cup Competitions, Royal London Girls County Age Group Under 15 and 17 Cup Competitions, ECB David English Bunbury Festival, ECB City Cup, ECB Over 50s County Championship, ECB Girls Regional Development Centre Festival and ECB Girls U15 Festivals.

However, ECB has been working with the Government to see the return of recreational cricket on or around July 4, as they continue to lift other restrictions more broadly across society. (ANI)

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