ECB Leaves Monetary Policy Unchanged



The ECB held its benchmark refinancing rate at 0 percent on October 25th and said it will continue to make net purchases under the asset purchase programme at the new monthly pace of €15 billion until the end of December 2018. Policymakers expect 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:

Incoming information, while somewhat weaker than expected, remains overall consistent with an ongoing broad-based expansion of the euro area economy and gradually rising inflation pressures. The underlying strength of the economy continues to support our confidence that the sustained convergence of inflation to our aim will proceed and will be maintained even after a gradual winding-down of our net asset purchases. At the same time, uncertainties relating to protectionism, vulnerabilities in emerging markets and financial market volatility remain prominent. 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.

Let me now explain our assessment in greater detail, starting with the economic analysis. Euro area real GDP increased by 0.4%, quarter on quarter, in both the first and the second quarter of 2018. Incoming information, while somewhat weaker than expected, remains overall consistent with our baseline scenario of an ongoing broad-based economic expansion, supported by domestic demand and continued improvements in the labour market. Some recent sector-specific developments are having an impact on the near-term growth profile. Our monetary policy measures continue to underpin domestic demand. Private consumption is fostered by ongoing employment growth and rising wages. At the same time, business investment is supported by solid domestic demand, favourable financing conditions and corporate profitability. Housing investment remains robust. In addition, the expansion in global activity is expected to continue supporting euro area exports, though at a slower pace.

The risks surrounding the euro area growth outlook can still be assessed as broadly balanced. At the same time, risks relating to protectionism, vulnerabilities in emerging markets and financial market volatility remain prominent.

Euro area annual HICP inflation increased to 2.1% in September 2018, from 2.0% in August, 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 over the coming months. 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. Looking ahead, underlying inflation is expected to pick up towards the end of the year and to increase further over the medium term, supported by our monetary policy measures, the ongoing economic expansion and rising wage growth.

ECB Leaves Monetary Policy Unchanged


ECB | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com
10/25/2018 1:22:58 PM