Chief economist update: The greatest central banker of modern times

"Patience is a virtue."

We've heard, read and seen this quote many, many times. This is a quote that's so easy to say but difficult to apply - more so if you're the head of one of the world's biggest central banks, presiding over a fast slowing economy and running out of time.

Such is departing ECB president Mario Draghi's predicament.

Listed as the 8th most powerful person in the world by Forbes in 2014, ranked as world's second greatest leader (behind Apple chief executive Tim Cook) by Fortune magazine, and described by Paul Krugman (in his opinion piece for The New York Times) as arguably "the greatest central banker of modern times" because "among other things, he very clearly saved the euro from collapse in 2012-13", Draghi is running out of time to see the fruits of his new stimulative policies before his term expires on October 31.

The ECB Governing Council will meet one more time - October 24 - under his leadership. Chances are there'll be no major announcements, especially after the big one (so far) had only been announced a month before (in September) where the ECB decided to adopt substantial monetary policy stimulus measures.

It stated: "The package consists of five elements: (i) a cut in the interest rate on the deposit facility, (ii) adjustments to the forward guidance on the key ECB interest rates, (iii) the restart of net purchases under the asset purchase programme (APP), (iv) modifications to the modalities of the new series of targeted longer-term refinancing operations (TLTRO III), and (v) the introduction of a two-tier system for reserve remuneration."

But Super Mario is getting antsy, as Factset reports: "Financial Times cited comments from outgoing ECB President Draghi ... Stressed that all instruments from rates to asset purchases to forward guidance are ready to be calibrated."

To be sure, the outlook for the eurozone appears to be deteriorating. The Markit Eurozone composite index has fallen closer to the expansion/contraction dividing line (to a reading of 50.4 in September from 51.9 in the previous month), due largely to the deepening contraction in the manufacturing sector (down to 45.6 from 47.0 in August) and the decline in the services sector (to 52.0 from 53.5).

Moreover, both headline (1%) and core inflation (0.9%) remains below the ECB's target (2%).

Still, these are still early times and monetary policy operates with a lag. Already, the euro has depreciated by 1.2% versus the greenback since the ECB's 12 September decision and the Euro Stoxx-50 index has advanced by 0.9%.

Patience, oh super one, patience.

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