The newspaper reported this less than two weeks ago:
Jack Barnes, a retired professional trader comments:
The Irish Independent learnt last night that the Central Bank of Ireland is financing €51bn of an emergency loan programme by printing its own money... ...A spokesman for the ECB said the Irish Central Bank is itself creating the money it is lending to banks, not borrowing cash from the ECB to fund the payments. The ECB spokesman said the Irish Central Bank can create its own funds if it deems it appropriate, as long as the ECB is notified.
News that money is being created in Ireland will feed fears already voiced this week by ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet that inflation is a potential concern for the eurozone.
Citi chief economist Willem Buiter, who, as late as 2009, called for the UK to adopt the euro, has now published a paper looking at these operations. He makes a not so flattering comparison to another monetary union, which fell on hard times:
This is a form of hyperinflation if you will, at least in context that a Central Bank, with no actual printing press, or a functioning bond market, has now electronically printed up new currency units for their banks without issuing debt behind these actions.
While this has happened before in history, it has not happened in the Euro currency project officially before today. This act is going to move the monetary policy of the union, to the individual capitals. The capacity to print electronic credits, with out the creation of cash currency or debt, is a new wrinkle in the economic landscape.
Meanwhile, Yale Phd Ed Dolan, who was a professor in Moscow from 1990 until 2001, provides some background in a new briefing, "The Breakup of the Ruble Area (1991-1993): Lessons for the Euro ":
A monetary union with multiple independent centres of money creation will end up looking like the Rouble zone that survived the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991 for a bit, until it collapsed in a series of chaotic hyperinflations.
Interestingly, as others before him, he sees Germany leaving the euro as the more preferable option:
The Central Bank of Russia claimed a monopoly on the issue of paper currency, but each of the 15 central banks of the ruble area could inflate the money supply through creation of bank credits. Each government was able to gain the full seigniorage benefit of financing its deficit through its own central bank, while spreading the resulting inflation among the whole group of 15.
(...) This gave rise to a free rider problem: Each country could use central bank credit to finance its budget deficit The resulting inflation was transmitted among all 15 member countries Each country had an incentive to act as a free rider, enjoying the benefits of credit expansion while shifting the inflationary costs to its neighbors.
It is hard for countries with weak economies to leave a stable currency area because doing so can trigger defaults and bank runs. These exit barriers do not apply to countries with strong economies that want to leave a weak, inflation-ridden currency area.Similar inflation concerns are now forcing the ECB to choose: increase interest rates to promote a hard currency, satisfying Germany; or keep rates low to help out struggling economies on the eurozone's periphery.
Perhaps the first chapter of the eurozone crisis is over. Another one is about to begin.