ECB Leaves Monetary Policy Unchanged



The ECB held its benchmark refinancing rate at 0 percent on July 26th and reiterated that the monthly pace of the net asset purchases will be reduced to €15 billion from September to December 2018, and will then end. The central bank also said it expects key interest rates to remain at record low levels at least through the summer of 2019.

The deposit facility rate and the marginal lending facility rate were also left unchanged at -0.4 percent and 0.25 percent, respectively.

Excerpts from the ECB Introductory Statement:

Based on our regular economic and monetary analyses, we decided to keep the key ECB interest rates unchanged. We continue to expect them to remain at their present levels at least through the summer of 2019, and in any case for as long as necessary to ensure the continued sustained convergence of inflation to levels that are below, but close to, 2% over the medium term.

Regarding non-standard monetary policy measures, we will continue to make net purchases under the asset purchase programme (APP) at the current monthly pace of €30 billion until the end of September 2018. We anticipate that, after September 2018, subject to incoming data confirming our medium-term inflation outlook, we will reduce the monthly pace of the net asset purchases to €15 billion until the end of December 2018 and then end net purchases. We intend to reinvest the principal payments from maturing securities purchased under the APP for an extended period of time after the end of our net asset purchases, and in any case for as long as necessary to maintain favourable liquidity conditions and an ample degree of monetary accommodation.

While uncertainties, notably related to the global trade environment, remain prominent, the information available since our last monetary policy meeting indicates that the euro area economy is proceeding along a solid and broad-based growth path. The underlying strength of the economy confirms our confidence that the sustained convergence of inflation to our aim will continue in the period ahead and will be maintained even after a gradual winding-down of our net asset purchases. Nevertheless, significant monetary policy stimulus is still needed to support the further build-up of domestic price pressures and headline inflation developments over the medium term. This support will continue to be provided by the net asset purchases until the end of the year, by the sizeable stock of acquired assets and the associated reinvestments, and by our enhanced forward guidance on the key ECB interest rates. In any event, the Governing Council stands ready to adjust all of its instruments as appropriate to ensure that inflation continues to move towards the Governing Council’s inflation aim in a sustained manner.

The risks surrounding the euro area growth outlook can still be assessed as broadly balanced. Uncertainties related to global factors, notably the threat of protectionism, remain prominent. Moreover, the risk of persistent heightened financial market volatility continues to warrant monitoring.

Euro area annual HICP inflation increased to 2.0% in June 2018, from 1.9% in May, reflecting mainly higher energy and food price inflation. On the basis of current futures prices for oil, annual rates of headline inflation are likely to hover around the current level for the remainder of the year. While measures of underlying inflation remain generally muted, they have been increasing from earlier lows. Domestic cost pressures are strengthening and broadening amid high levels of capacity utilisation and tightening labour markets. Uncertainty around the inflation outlook is receding. Looking ahead, underlying inflation is expected to pick up towards the end of the year and thereafter to increase gradually over the medium term, supported by our monetary policy measures, the continuing economic expansion, the corresponding absorption of economic slack and rising wage growth.


ECB Leaves Monetary Policy Unchanged


ECB | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com
7/26/2018 12:51:50 PM