Excerpt from the statement by Mario Draghi, President of the ECB:
Underlying price pressures in the euro area are expected to remain subdued over the medium term. In keeping with this picture, monetary and credit dynamics remain subdued. At the same time, inflation expectations for the euro area over the medium to long term are firmly anchored in line with our aim of maintaining inflation rates below, but close to, 2%. Such a constellation continues to suggest that we may experience a prolonged period of low inflation, to be followed by a gradual upward movement towards inflation rates below, but close to, 2% later on. Against this background, the Governing Council strongly emphasises that it will maintain an accommodative stance of monetary policy for as long as necessary, which will assist the gradual economic recovery in the euro area. Accordingly, we firmly reiterate our forward guidance that we continue to expect the key ECB interest rates to remain at present or lower levels for an extended period of time. As previously stated, this expectation is based on an overall subdued outlook for inflation extending into the medium term, given the broad-based weakness of the economy and subdued monetary dynamics.
The risks surrounding the economic outlook for the euro area continue to be on the downside. Developments in global money and financial market conditions and related uncertainties may have the potential to negatively affect economic conditions. Other downside risks include higher commodity prices, weaker than expected domestic demand and export growth, and slow or insufficient implementation of structural reforms in euro area countries.
The risks to the outlook for price developments continue to be seen as broadly balanced over the medium term, with upside risks relating to higher commodity prices and stronger than expected increases in administered prices and indirect taxes, and downside risks stemming from weaker than expected economic activity.