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Financial News: ECB Keeps Interest Rates, QE Unchanged

ECB Keeps Interest Rates, QE Unchanged

06/08/2017 - 07:53:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - The European Central Bank on Thursday left its key interest rates and massive monetary stimulus unchanged for a tenth successive policy session as policymakers are still unconvinced whether inflation will move closer to target despite the robust growth.

The Governing Council, led by ECB President Mario Draghi, kept all its three interest rates unchanged during the policy session in Tallinn, Estonia.

The main refi rate was held at a record low zero percent and the deposit rate at -0.40 percent. The marginal lending facility rate was kept at 0.25 percent.

The bank is also retained its asset purchases of EUR 60 billion a month till December 2017. The size was reduced in March from EUR 80 billion.

The net purchases will be made alongside reinvestments of the principal payments from maturing securities purchased under the asset purchase programme, the bank said.

"The Governing Council expects the key ECB interest rates to remain at their present levels for an extended period of time, and well past the horizon of the net asset purchases," the ECB said in a statement.

"If the outlook becomes less favorable, or if financial conditions become inconsistent with further progress towards a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation, the Governing Council stands ready to increase the programme in terms of size and/or duration," the bank said.

Draghi is scheduled to hold his customary post-decision press conference at 8.30 am ET.

In the press conference, Draghi is expected to tread carefully to avoid any suggestion of tapering, but a subtle change in communication on the balance of risk and the forward guidance is likely, economists said.

Policymakers would also be presented with the latest set of macroeconomic projections in the latest meeting, produced jointly by euro area national central banks and ECB staff.

Economists widely expect an upgrade to the growth outlook, while they foresee a downgrade to the inflation projections.

In March, the growth projections for this year and next were raised by a percentage point to 1.8 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively. Growth was seen slowing to 1.6 percent in 2019.

Inflation forecasts for this year and next were boosted to 1.7 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively. The projection for 2019 was retained at 1.7 percent.

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