Extract from the Introductory statement to the press conference given by Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the ECB
Ladies and gentlemen, the Vice-President and I are very pleased to welcome you to our press conference. We will now report on the outcome of today’s meeting, which was also attended by Commissioner Rehn.
Based on its regular economic and monetary analyses, the Governing Council decided to leave the key ECB interest rates unchanged. The information which has become available since our meeting on 3 February 2011 indicates a rise in inflation, largely reflecting higher commodity prices. The economic analysis indicates that risks to the outlook for price developments are on the upside, while the underlying pace of monetary expansion remains moderate. Recent economic data confirm that the underlying momentum of economic activity in the euro area remains positive; however, uncertainty remains elevated. The current very accommodative stance of monetary policy lends considerable support to economic activity. It is essential that the recent rise in inflation does not give rise to broad-based inflationary pressures over the medium term. Strong vigilance is warranted with a view to containing upside risks to price stability. Overall, the Governing Council remains prepared to act in a firm and timely manner to ensure that upside risks to price stability over the medium term do not materialise. The continued firm anchoring of inflation expectations is of the essence.
The Governing Council today also decided to continue conducting its main refinancing operations (MROs) and the special-term refinancing operations with a maturity of one maintenance period as fixed rate tender procedures with full allotment for as long as necessary, and at least until the end of the sixth maintenance period of 2011 on 12 July 2011. Furthermore, the Governing Council decided to conduct the three-month longer-term refinancing operations (LTROs) to be allotted on 27 April, 25 May and 29 June 2011 as fixed rate tender procedures with full allotment. The rates in these three-month operations will be fixed at the average rate of the MROs over the life of the respective LTRO.
As we have stated before, 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.