TARGET2 imbalances: causes, assessments and consequences


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This research aims to enrich the literature on the threatening topic of Target2 imbalances in the euro area. Using a quantitative time series analysis, the paper examines and discusses the development of Target2 imbalances and the interrelationships of the European Central Bank (ECB) activities through market intervention using quantitative easing. This paper outlines the scope of central bank activities in different Eurozone countries and examines how individual debtor and creditor countries, as well as central banks, will continue to operate. In this context it examines whether the ECB is working on a problem solution, and what are the risks posed by Target2 imbalances for the euro area, as well as whether the euro is volatile and how the Target2 imbalances will be managed if the euro breaks. This research highlights the ambiguity of central bank activities, explains the burdens and risks of Germany as the largest creditor, shows solutions through the communitization or the creation of Target3 to correct past mistakes and to prevent a further and more severe global crisis. Attention is drawn to the fact that Italy could put the Eurozone in a critical situation by introducing mini-BOTs (small government bonds; “titoli di Stato di piccolo taglio”) as the second currency. Furthermore, it is pointed out that the ECB has adjusted its price stability objectives to raise inflation expectations in the Eurozone, which is unlikely to satisfy Target2 demanding countries.

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    • Figure 1. T2 balances in million EUR for selected countries: long-term and by country
    • Figure 2. T2 balances of Greece in billion EUR
    • Figure 3. Inflation rates for the Euro area (1997–2019), annualized data
    • Table 1. T2 balances in million EUR between March 2015 and May 2019
    • Table 2. T2 balances in million EUR between December 2018 and May 2019
    • Table 3. ECB balance sheets total and securities held for monetary policy purposes (2014–2018)