Growth in the euro zone remained at 0.2 percent in the second quarter, disappointing economists and politicians who had hoped for stronger economic acceleration.
Germany, the euro zone's biggest economy, disappointed in particular, posting a 0.2 percent contraction in growth. The zone's second- and third-biggest economies of France and Italy reported zero growth and a 0.2 percent contraction respectively.
With low growth and deflation risks in mind, ECB President Mario Draghi announced a triple-rate cut last Thursday, along with purchases of both covered bonds and asset-backed securities (ABS)—a sort of private-sector version of the quantitative easing (QE) used by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
This is quite complex package of measures," Draghi told journalists at his regular press conference on Thursday.
"The purpose is very different from previous programs... the aim is to increase the measures that produce credit-easing… and also to significantly stir the size of our balance sheet towards the dimensions it used to have at the beginning of 2012," Draghi told a news conference on Thursday.
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Despite Thursday's announcement, and other stimulus measures unveiled in June, Bartsch said the ECB alone would be unable to prevent the "Japanification of Europe"—referring to the zero growth and inflation which Japan was mired in from 1991 to 2010.
"While we believe that the recovery will likely continue, we fear that it, at least initially, will remain lackluster," said Bartsch.
Morgan Stanley downgraded its growth forecasts for each of the euro zone's major economies on Sunday—including cutting Germany's 2014 outlook by 25 percent to 1.5 percent. Its growth forecasts for the euro zone as a whole are below those of the ECB—even though the central bank cut its predictions last Thursday. It now sees growth at 0.9 percent this year and 1.6 percent next.
Bartsch termed Germany a "reform laggard"—along with France and Italy—even though the former has led calls for reforms in struggling euro zone members like Portugal and Greece.
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