ECONOMY

Draghi repeats ECB balance sheet to move toward 2012 level

The European Central Bank aims to increase the size of its balance sheet toward the levels of 2012, ECB President Mario Draghi said on Thursday, repeating language that has annoyed some policymakers at the bank by essentially setting a target for the expansion.

Reuters reported earlier this week that some national central bankers were angered that Draghi effectively set a target for increasing the ECB’s balance sheet immediately after the policymaking Governing Council explicitly agreed not to make any figure public.

Draghi said during a question-and-answer session on Sept. 4 that the ECB aimed to expand its balance sheet «towards the dimensions it used to have at the beginning of 2012» at the peak of the eurozone crisis.

That implies a balance sheet level of up to a trillion euros higher than today’s levels.

On Thursday, Draghi told his monthly news conference: «(Previously announced loans and) asset purchases will have a sizeable impact on our balance sheet, which is expected to move towards the dimensions it had at the beginning of 2012.» [Reuters]