On Thursday, the Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) announced that it was raising “three key ECB interest rates” by 25 basis points (BPS) in a move similar to the one taken by the United States Federal Reserve.
The US Federal Reserve, on Wednesday, increased its fund rates by an additional 25 BPS, its highest interest rate in 22 years.
European Central Bank In The Fight Against Inflation
The European Central Bank, in its statement, admitted that although inflation continues to decline, it is “still expected to remain too high for too long.” In a bid to fight inflation and return it to its 2% medium-term target in a timely manner, the governing council has continued to hike the interest rates for some time now, and this has further raised concerns for investors in the financial market as to whether or not there will be hikes before year ends.
For context, the ECB has raised rates by 4.00% since last year July, accounting for the fastest-tightening cycle in its history. It is projected that this rapid increase in rates could negatively affect the expansion of loans in the European region and economic activity also.
A quarterly poll released by the ECB on July 25 revealed that the companies’ demand for loans plunged to its lowest in the second quarter of this year. The eurozone has less developed and liquid capital markets than the United States, so there is an overreliance on banks in financing the economy.
And now, according to ECB Chief Economist Philip Lane, the tighter monetary policy is massively impacting bank loans. So such policies will undoubtedly cause a liquidity squeeze.
Although inflation continues to decline, it is evident that the ECB and US Federal Reserve aren’t getting the desired results as to the target to which they want to bring inflation down to. As such, these financial bodies may continue increasing the rates to as high as possible despite the dramatic economic slowdown.
Investors are aware of this position and are looking toward Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for succor. For a long time now, Bitcoin has been tagged as a ‘hedge against inflation,’ and it seems that many are realizing that this is more than a tag as Bitcoin has remained stable despite the growing rates, which many would have expected would send Bitcoin and the crypto market spiraling down.
Unlike the United States, European investors are lucky to have more regulatory certainty in the region. The Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation offers a sense of direction to stakeholders in the European crypto industry. This will help businesses and investors navigate their way when operating and dealing with crypto assets.