The head of the Dutch central bank warned Wednesday that weaker euro zone nations could be harmed by interest rate shocks. Its concerns were voiced as the European Central Bank (ECB) said that it might further increase interest rates if inflation increases as the year goes on.
Reuters reported that the Dutch bank, led by Nout Wellink, also a member of the governing council of the ECB and chairman of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, made the statement in its semiannual financial stability report. Greece, Ireland, and Portugal, it said, were vulnerable to the risk, which has become greater thanks to more inflationary pressure and commodity prices on the rise.
Meanwhile, Athanasios Orphanides, also a member of the governing council of the ECB, warned at a news conference that inflationary pressures might cause the bank to raise rates. He was quoted as saying, "If the picture we have of inflation in the euro zone deteriorates from what we have seen in the past few months then certainly more adjustment would be required because our primary target is price stability in the euro zone as a whole."
Orphanides, who heads the Central Bank of Cyprus, also called the idea of a restructuring of Greek debt "a very bad idea." He added that any such action had the potential to spill over into other euro zone countries and perhaps even beyond those 17 member nations. "A restructure would be wrong," he said. "It would be undesirable for the Greek economy, for the economy of the euro zone, unnecessary and it is just a very bad idea."