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Arithmetic is absolute: euro area adjustment. Bruegel Policy Contribution 2012/09, 23 May 2012

Wolff, Guntram B. (2012) Arithmetic is absolute: euro area adjustment. Bruegel Policy Contribution 2012/09, 23 May 2012. [Policy Paper]

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    Abstract

    The European Central Bank’s monetary policy targets the euro-area average inflation rate. By setting conditions for the area as a whole it should ensure symmetric price adjustment. Indeed, consumer price inflation rates provide little evidence of asymmetric adjustment during 2009-11. Only Ireland, which is too small to trigger a symmetric reaction, had significantly lower inflation rates than the average. Some asymmetry is visible in total economy unit labour costs (ULC) during 2009- 11, whereas wages appear to develop more symmetrically. ULC adjustment has been largely disconnected from consumer price developments. This makes it difficult for the monetary transmission channel to operate fully and ensure consumer price adjustments. Structural reforms to remove price rigidities are key. The forecast is worrying. While the European Commission forecasts that Greek inflation rates will fall, German and Italian inflation rates will not adjust in the right direction during 2012-13. Less inflation in Italy and more inflation in Germany are urgently needed to achieve rebalancing in the euro area."

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    Item Type: Policy Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > economic and financial affairs > EMU/EMS/euro
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > economic and financial affairs > monetary policy
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > economic and financial affairs > financial crisis 2008-on and consequences/reforms
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Bruegel (Brussels) > Policy Contributions
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 24 May 2012 08:07
    Number of Pages: 7
    Last Modified: 24 May 2012 09:14
    URI: http://aei.pitt.edu/id/eprint/35052

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