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Financial News: ECB's Lagarde Says Coronavirus Added New Layer Of

ECB's Lagarde Says Coronavirus Added New Layer Of Uncertainty

02/05/2020 - 09:44:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said on Wednesday that the novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCov, outbreak in China is a new risk to the European economic outlook.

"While the threat of a trade war between the United States and China appears to have receded, the coronavirus adds a new layer of uncertainty," she said in a speech in Paris.

The coronavirus outbreak that started in the Chinese city of Wuhan has claimed more than 500 lives and has infected over 24,000 in the country itself. Several Chinese cities are under lockdown.

The World Health Organisation has declared the coronavirus outbreak a "public health emergency of international concern".

Several countries have warned their citizens against travel to China and those returning from the country are screened thoroughly.

The outbreak has impacted several businesses, both domestic and the foreign ones operating in China. Firms have been forced to scale down their Chinese operations and to ask staff to stay at home or work from home.

The ECB is seeing the coronavirus outbreak as a global risk, similar to trade and geopolitical ones.

"In the face of these uncertainties, the ECB's forward guidance on interest rates and asset purchases acts as an effective automatic stabiliser," Lagarde added.

The former IMF chief reiterated that climate change will be a key part of the ongoing review of ECB strategy that is expected to be concluded by the end of this year.

She pointed out the need to fill the knowledge gap and to properly reflect climate risks.

"What we do know so far suggests that climate change will affect monetary policy," Lagarde said.

"Bringing climate change more fundamentally into our analysis and strategy is not "mission creep": climate change is also a price stability risk," she added.

The ECB has already started to to promote climate risk disclosure across its range of tasks, Lagarde said.

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