Lagarde warns against vaccine optimism and hints at more ECB easing

Lagarde warns against vaccine optimism and hints at more ECB easing

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde cautioned Wednesday against an immediate economic impact from a Covid-19 vaccine, while also giving more details about what the central bank is likely to do next.

“While the latest news on a vaccine looks encouraging, we could still face recurring cycles of accelerating viral spread and tightening restrictions until widespread immunity is achieved,” Lagarde said at the ECB Forum on Central Banking.

“So the recovery may not be linear, but rather unsteady, stop-start and contingent on the pace of vaccine rollout,” she said.

Pfizer and BioNTech announced Monday that their Covid-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective in preventing the infectious disease, which has boosted optimism that the pandemic could come to an end sooner rather than later.

Speaking to CNBC Wednesday, ECB Governing Council Member Klaas Knot said: “Having a vaccine is absolutely good news but the materialization of the economic impact of the good news may take some time and will not happen over night.”

The euro zone grew by 12.7% in the third quarter of the year from the previous three-month period, preliminary data showed last month. The surge in economic activity was the sharpest-ever on record, following the second-quarter’s historic plunge, and came as social restrictions eased across the bloc.

However, since September, governments have stepped up measures to contain a second wave of Covid-19 infections. France and Germany, the two largest euro economies, are currently in national lockdown, for example.

CNBC

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