The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.
The higher you climb, the thinner the oxygen. As it prints more money to help the economy, the European Central Bank has climbed ever steeper. Yet prices, a barometer of economic health, are dangerously close to reversing. If that happens, and shoppers postpone big buys or companies keep a lid on wages, we could see Japan-like stagnation. To avoid that, the ECB is set to top up bond-buying.
For the European Central Bank, digging deeper into quantitative easing may be the only policy option left, now that growth in bank lending to businesses is stalling again.