Introductory statement to the press conference
Based on its regular economic and monetary analyses, the Governing Council decided to keep the key ECB interest rates unchanged. Inflation has remained elevated and incoming information has confirmed our view that inflation is likely to stay above 2% over the months ahead but to decline thereafter. At the same time, the underlying pace of monetary expansion continues to be moderate. Ongoing tensions in financial markets and unfavourable effects on financing conditions are likely to dampen the pace of economic growth in the euro area in the second half of this year. The economic outlook remains subject to particularly high uncertainty and intensified downside risks. At the same time, short-term interest rates remain low. It remains essential for monetary policy to maintain price stability over the medium term, thereby ensuring a firm anchoring of inflation expectations in the euro area in line with our aim of maintaining inflation rates below, but close to, 2% over the medium term. Such anchoring is a prerequisite for monetary policy to make its contribution towards supporting economic growth and job creation in the euro area. A very thorough analysis of all incoming data and developments over the period ahead is warranted.
The Governing Council has decided to conduct two longer-term refinancing operations (LTROs), one with a maturity of approximately 12 months in October and the other with a maturity of approximately 13 months in December. The operations will be conducted as fixed rate tender procedures with full allotment. The rate in both operations will be fixed at the average rate of the main refinancing operations (MROs) over the life of the respective LTRO, and interest will be paid when each operation matures. These operations will be conducted in addition to the regular and special-term refinancing operations, which remain unaffected.
The Governing Council has also decided to continue conducting its MROs 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 2012 on 10 July 2012. This procedure will also remain in use for the Eurosystem’s special-term refinancing operations with a maturity of one maintenance period, which will continue to be conducted for as long as needed, and at least until the end of the sixth maintenance period (i.e. around the end of the second quarter) of 2012. The fixed rate in these special-term refinancing operations will be the same as the MRO rate prevailing at the time.
In addition, the Governing Council has decided to conduct the three-month LTROs to be allotted on 25 January, 29 February, 28 March, 25 April, 30 May and 27 June 2012 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.
Furthermore, the Governing Council has decided to launch a new covered bond purchase programme (CBPP2). The programme will have the following modalities:
The purchases will be for an intended amount of EUR 40 billion.
The purchases will have the capacity to be conducted in the primary and secondary markets and will be carried out by means of direct purchases.
The purchases will start in November 2011 and are expected to be fully implemented by the end of October 2012.