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European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde urged patience as the bank looks to pare back its now 8 trillion euro balance sheet in the face of galloping inflation, and asked viewers of a Dutch talk show to imagine the damage to the economy had the central bank not intervened in such a large way during the COVID crisis.
"It will come, it will come, in due course, yeah," responded an at least a modestly uncomfortable Lagarde when presented with the sharp upward-and-to-the-right graph of the central bank's balance sheet, and asked how she plans to bring it down. "How?" the questioner during an episode of the "College Tour" TV show pressed again. "In due course, it will come," she assured.
The EU's most recent report estimated inflation in the Euro area at 7.5% in April, up from 5.1% three months earlier and 1.6% a year prior.
Look at the "counterfactual," argued Lagarde. Had the ECB not stepped in with an emergency package of asset purchases as the COVID lockdowns began, and massively boosted that program as the pandemic continued, the damage to EU economies would have been devastating.
Earlier in the interview, Lagarde said that crypto (bitcoin included) was worth nothing. Asked by an audience member if she owned digital assets, Lagarde said no, but allowed that her son had invested. As for his success, or lack thereof, Lagarde said he hadn't told her.