The interest rates on the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility were left on hold at 0.30 percent and -0.20 percent respectively.
Excerpts from the Introductory statement to the press conference:
As regards non-standard monetary policy measures, on 9 March we started purchasing euro-denominated public sector securities as part of our expanded asset purchase programme, which also comprises purchases of asset-backed securities and covered bonds. Purchases are intended to run until the end of September 2016 and, in any case, until we see a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation that is consistent with our aim of achieving inflation rates below, but close to, 2% over the medium term. When carrying out its assessment, the Governing Council will follow its monetary policy strategy and concentrate on trends in inflation, looking through unexpected outcomes in measured inflation in either direction if judged to be transient and to have no implication for the medium-term outlook for price stability.
The implementation of our asset purchase programmes is proceeding smoothly, with volumes in line with the announced figure of €60 billion of securities per month. In addition, there is clear evidence that the monetary policy measures we have put in place are effective. Financial market conditions and the cost of external finance for the private sector have eased considerably over the past months and borrowing conditions for firms and households have improved notably, with a pick-up in the demand for credit.
Looking ahead, our focus will be on the full implementation of our monetary policy measures. Through these measures, we will contribute to a further improvement in the economic outlook, a reduction in economic slack and a recovery in money and credit growth. Together, such developments will lead to a sustained return of inflation towards a level below, but close to, 2% over the medium term and will underpin the firm anchoring of medium to long-term inflation expectations.
While remaining on the downside, the risks surrounding the economic outlook for the euro area have become more balanced on account of the recent monetary policy decisions, the fall in oil prices and the lower euro exchange rate.
To sum up, a cross-check of the outcome of the economic analysis with the signals coming from the monetary analysis confirms the need to implement firmly the Governing Council’s recent decisions. The full implementation of all our monetary policy measures will provide the necessary support to the euro area recovery and bring inflation rates towards levels below, but close to, 2% in the medium term.