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Sunday, 21 October, 2001, 12:46 GMT 13:46 UK
Soros lashes out at ECB
George Soros
George Soros: the fourth quarter will be awful
George Soros, the billionaire financial expert, has lashed out at the monetary policy of the European Central Bank (ECB).

The US led the world down and is likely to lead the world up

George Soros
In an interview with the BBC's Breakfast with Frost, Mr Soros said there was room to criticise the bank for being backward looking and old-fashioned.

The ECB controls interest rates for the 12 nations in the eurozone, and must balance the need to boost economic growth against inflationary pressures.

But Mr Soros said he though the bank had this balance wrong, when talking about the recovery of the global economy.

Old-fashioned doctrine

"The ECB is firmly backward-looking and is not moving until inflation comes down, and so there is room to criticise the policy of the ECB," he said.

Wim Duisenberg
Wim Duisenberg: Backward looking?
"The ECB has to take economic activity into account and not merely price stability, that's an old fashioned doctrine."

Wim Duisenberg, governor of the ECB, has cut interest rates three times this year.

His policy has been noticeably less aggressive than that of his American counterpart, Alan Greenspan, who has cut rates nine times this year.

Mr Soros praised the aggressive actions of Mr Greenspan's Federal Reserve, but also said they had possible gone into "overkill".

Climbing out of the hole

The action of the central banks is aimed at pulling the world out of an economic slowdown.

Alan Greenspan
Alan Greenspan: Nine rate cut overkill?
"We are in a recession and the fourth quarter is going to be awful, and we hope that because of the counter-cyclical measures now taken that we will have a reasonable recovery, at the latest in the second quarter of next year," said the Hungarian-born financial expert.

"The US led the world down and is likely to lead the world up," he added.

But he also questioned the strength of such a recovery.

"We fell into a hole, and we are going to climb out of the hole, but how much further we go on the recovery track remains a very open question."

George Soros made 1bn by betting on the devaluation of sterling in 1992 and his opinions are digested by economists and investors around the world.

See also:

01 Jan 01 | Business
Which way for shares in 2001?
16 Jun 00 | Business
Soros warns on tech stocks
29 Apr 00 | Business
Soros scales back
08 May 00 | Business
Soros: Euro may 'disintegrate'
06 Dec 98 | The Economy
The man who broke the Bank of England
19 Oct 01 | Business
Rate cut row mars summit
02 Jan 01 | Business
Soros warns of global slowdown
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