When the world’s central bankers descend on Jackson Hole, Wyoming, this week for their annual symposium, one furrowed brow will be missing from the crowd: Mario Draghi’s. The president of the European Central Bank, one of the world’s most-watched financial figures, announced Tuesday that he won’t attend the pow-wow, citing “the heavy workload foreseen in the next few days.”
Commentators have been quick to try and read the tea-leaves. If Draghi really is burning the candle at both ends, could it mean that a rumored ECB bond-buyback might be in the works? Could Draghi’s decision to play hookie actually juice the markets, by convincing Eurozone-addled investors that a grand bargain is in the works? Or might it spook them?
We have a different theory. Perhaps Mario Draghi isn’t going to Jackson Hole because he’s discovered something lots of American business travelers complain about: it’s a pain to get to rural destinations, and the reduction in airline capacity means it might cost and arm and a leg. Here are a few potential round-trip itineraries courtesy of Expedia.com. I’ve assumed that the ECB president flies first-class, and that he favors as few stops as possible, in order to save time. Keep in mind, these are minimums, as I haven’t factored in the price of flying out Draghi’s large staff.
The journey would take just under sixteen hours, and likely cost around $9429, or 7514 euros. The ECB may be a central bank. But in these times of austerity, it may not have that kind of liquidity lying around.