Vítor Manuel Ribeiro Constâncio, GCC, GCIH (born 12 October 1943) is a Portuguese economist and politician, Vice President of the European Central Bank. Constâncio graduated in economics from the Universidade Técnica de Lisboa.
He was secretary-general of the Socialist Party from 1986 to 1989. He lost the legislative elections of 19 July 1987, but remained in office. He resigned the following year, being replaced by Jorge Sampaio.
He was governor of the Banco de Portugal, the Portuguese central bank, from 2000 to 2010, having been re-appointed in 2006. Under his presidency the Bank of Portugal has spend one third of its original holdings of 600 tons of gold to 400 tons, approximately.
He was appointed vice-governor in 1977, in 1979, and in the period from 1981 to 1984. He was Governor of the Portuguese Central Bank from 1985 to 1986. While in office, he advocated salaries stagnation or increases below inflation, as a way to increase the Portuguese economy's competitiveness.
Two Portuguese banks (Banco Português de Negócios (BPN) and Banco Privado Português (BPP) had been accumulating losses for years due to bad investiments, embezzlement and accounting fraud. The Portuguese Central Bank, led by Constâncio, was criticized for having allowed this situation for years.
Shortly after, on 6 April 2011, the Portuguese Government, facing increasing difficulties in securing its financing needs in the international financial markets, formally requested international financial assistance leading to a €78 billion program with equal participation of the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism, European Financial Stability Facility and International Monetary Fund.
Governor of the Portuguese Central Bank (2000–2010)
During the global economic crisis, it emerged that two banks (Banco Português de Negócios (BPN) and Banco Privado Português (BPP) had been accumulating losses for years due to bad investiments, embezzlement and accounting fraud. In the grounds of avoiding a potentially serious financial crisis in the Portuguese economy, the Portuguese government decided to give them a bailout, eventually at a future loss to taxpayers. Because of that, the role of Banco de Portugal, led by Constâncio, in regulating and supervising the Portuguese banking system has been the subject of heated argument, particularly whether Vítor Constâncio had the means to do something or revealed gross incompetence, due to the fact that he knew that BPN accounts were wrong since 2001.
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