Deutsche Bank boss calls on ECB to halt cheap money

John Cryan
John Cryan

Deutsche Bank chief executive John Cryan

:: Deutsche Bank chief executive John Cryan has called on the European Central Bank to change course on providing cheap money, warning he sees price bubbles in stocks, bonds and property.

“The era of cheap money in Europe should come to an end — despite the strong euro,” Cryan told a room full of bankers in Frankfurt on Wednesday, a day before the ECB’s governors meet to discuss policy.

Low interest rates, money printing and a penalty charge for hoarding cash have been at the heart of attempts by the central bank to reinvigorate the 19-country euro zone economy in the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis.

But the policy, which has seen the ECB print more than €2 trillion ($2.4 trillion) so far, has been politically divisive, prompting fierce criticism from the famously thrifty Germans.

It has also imposed a heavy cost on still fragile banks, turning deposits into a hot potato that many would rather avoid so as not to pay charges to their central bank for storing them.

The head of Germany’s largest commercial bank warned of the fallout from cheap money, cautioning against using the strong euro as a justification for printing more.

“We are now seeing signs of bubbles in more and more parts of the capital market,” he said.

Cryan also said Frankfurt was the most natural location as a financial hub as banks move from London after Britain’s decision to leave the EU — ahead of Paris, Dublin and Amsterdam.

“There is only one European city which can fulfil these requirements and that city is Frankfurt,” he said, pointing to Frankfurt’s supervisory authorities, law firms, consultancies and airport.

Britain’s planned departure from the EU has prompted banks and investors in London to examine other cities to keep a foothold in the bloc, allowing them to sell across the continent without additional costs or trade hurdles after Brexit.

Frankfurt and Dublin have emerged as the most popular centers.

“It’s not about a choice between Dublin, Paris or Frankfurt — it’s about a choice between New York, Singapore or Frankfurt,” he said. “Brexit could become a large stimulus package for Frankfurt’s economy.”

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