Extracts from the Introductory statement to the press conference by Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the ECB
Based on its regular economic and monetary analyses, the Governing Council confirmed that the current key ECB interest rates still remain appropriate. It therefore decided to leave them unchanged. Taking into account all the new information and analyses which have become available since our meeting on 13 January 2011, we continue to see evidence of short-term upward pressure on overall inflation, mainly owing to energy and commodity prices. This has not so far affected our assessment that price developments will remain in line with price stability over the policy-relevant horizon. At the same time, very close monitoring is warranted. Recent economic data confirm the positive underlying momentum of economic activity in the euro area, while uncertainty remains elevated. Our monetary analysis indicates that inflationary pressures over the medium to long term should remain contained. Inflation expectations remain firmly anchored in line with our aim of keeping inflation rates below, but close to, 2% over the medium term. The continued firm anchoring of inflation expectations is of the essence.
Overall, we expect price stability to be maintained over the medium term, and the current monetary policy stance remains accommodative. The stance, the provision of liquidity and the allotment modes will be adjusted as appropriate, taking into account the fact that all the non-standard measures taken during the period of acute financial market tensions are, by construction, temporary in nature. Accordingly, the Governing Council will continue to monitor all developments over the period ahead very closely.