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ECB warns of economic hit if pandemic-support is phased out

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The European Central Bank warned on Tuesday of painful "cliff effects" for households and companies if governments and regulators phase out the economic support they have provided to cushion the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

[FRANKFURT] The European Central Bank warned on Tuesday of painful "cliff effects" for households and companies if governments and regulators phase out the economic support they have provided to cushion the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The ECB estimates the euro zone's five largest economies will lose 2 per cent to 4 per cent of their gross domestic product if these measures, ranging from loan guarantees and moratoria to short-time working schemes, are left to expire by the end of 2021.

"The simultaneous termination of policy measures could trigger a protracted downward shift in the recovery path," the ECB said. "Such cliff-edge effects would be concentrated in the first half of 2021." The ECB cautioned, however, that keeping this support in place for too long could also curb long-term growth and endanger financial stability, by keeping inefficient companies alive and causing capital to be poorly allocated.

"There are substantial short-term risks associated with the withdrawal of policy support, while medium-term risks of protracted policy support should also not be ignored," the ECB said.

REUTERS

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