2016 The Year in Review

Low ECB Rates Anger Savers

Savers count the cost of generous monetary policy. Source: DPA

The European Central Bank’s ultra-low interest rate policies may have kept the euro zone alive in 2016, but they continued to take a toll on German savers and companies. Risk-averse Germans complained of having no way to accumulate wealth and once-frugal companies gorged on the cheap money to refinance at lower costs and pile up lots of debt. Even fiscal prude Wolfgang Schäuble, the German finance minister, benefited from rate policies officially opposed by Germany: Low rates helped Mr. Schäuble deliver a government budget surplus for 2016.

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