More disappointing data from the euro zone but the ECB sticks to its policy of waiting for current stimulus to have an impact with a ''no change'' decision at its latest meeting. Is it the best way forward? David Pollard reports.
It's a crash course in crisis management. Issue number one: a failing economic backdrop. On the day of the latest ECB meeting, Siemens warned it sees next year as a year of consolidation - not growth. The latest German industrial order numbers disappointed massively with a meagre 0.8 per cent rise in September. Euro zone retail sales are down sharply in the same month, and latest PMI data is weak. As usual, Draghi reassured - but with a bit more this time. SOUNDBITE (English) MARIO DRAGHI, PRESIDENT, ECB: ''Here, you have a new sentence here that say today the governing council has tasked, tasked, ECB staff and the relevant euro-system committees with ensuring the timely preparation of further measures to be implemented if needed.'' Issue number two: a leadership style that's increasingly coming under attack. Reuters is told as many as ten of 24 members of the ECB governing council oppose moving towards full QE. And that there's dissent over what some see as his secretive and erratic communication. Draghi batted away the criticism - saying all council members had signed up to a balance sheet target - which could, though not necessarily would - amount to one trillion euros. Patrick Armstrong is managing partner of Plurimi Investment Management. SOUNDBITE (English) Patrick Armstrong, Managing Partner, Plurimi Investment Management: ''I think he's clearly trying to take a leadership role and I think that's creating some frustration with other members, but you do need decisive action and I think Mario is doing a very good job on that.'' But if the job needs full QE to finish it, there's still issue number three: the timing. The ECB may want to get a clear view of how its current programme of loans and asset purchases are working through the system first. Many see next month's key update of ECB economic projections as a possible trigger. SOUNDBITE (English) Patrick Armstrong, Managing Partner, Plurimi Investment Management: "Nothing happens until it's imminent disaster and that's when Europe tends to act. We think that will happen over the coming quarter that you'll get so clear deflationary pressures, no inflation at all, slowdown in economic numbers.'' Draghi's been arguing more must be done to boost growth by individual member states. Euro zone finance ministers are gathering for their latest meeting in Brussels where they were greeted by anti-austerity protesters. The chances of Draghi committing to full QE are seen at roughly 50/50. They may want to try to play those odds first before committing to any action of their own.