The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. With nearly 300 released each year, working papers cover a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
More than two years ago the European Central Bank (ECB) adopted a negative interest rate policy (NIRP) to achieve its price stability objective. Negative interest rates have so far supported easier financial conditions and contributed to a modest expansion in credit, demonstrating that the zero lower bound is less binding than previously thought. However, interest rate cuts also weigh on bank profitability. Substantial rate cuts may at some point outweigh the benefits from higher asset values and stronger aggregate demand. Further monetary accommodation may need to rely more on credit easing and an expansion of the ECB's balance sheet rather than substantial additional reductions in the policy rate.