Having announced the OMT program just a month ago, expect the ECB to keep policy steady on all fronts at tomorrow’s monthly rate-setting meeting. While European economic data continues to deteriorate, the ECB is unlikely to cut its refi or deposit rates while inflation is running significantly above its 2% target. They are even less likely to do so than normal given the rift between the ultra-orthodox Bundesbank and the more adventurous managing board.
Expect lots of hypothetical questions from the press on what a Spanish bailout would look like.
The number one question I would have for President Draghi is how he squares the notion that ECB bond buying would be done to improve monetary policy transmission with the idea that Spain (or any other member of the euro area) would have to seek aid from the ESM before the ECB would buy short-term debt. Those two positions are intellectually inconsistent.
If the ECB is buying bonds to influence the monetary policy transmission mechanism, it should buy bonds as it sees fit. If it is bailing out the sovereign, it should seek conditions. But you can’t have it both ways. A bailout by any other name still smells like a bailout.