March 8, 2018 / 1:41 PM / 3 months ago

Draghi comments at ECB press conference

(Reuters) - The European Central Bank dropped a long-standing pledge on Thursday to increase bond buys if needed, taking another small step in weaning the euro zone economy off protracted stimulus.

FILE PHOTO: European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi attends a eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium, February 19, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

Following are highlights of ECB President Mario Draghi’s comments at a press conference after the bank’s policy meeting.

ASKING ECJ ABOUT LATVIA

“On Latvia... we don’t have enough information. And that’s why today we are sending a letter... to ask for clarification by the Court of Justice of the European Union whether individual security measures imposed on the governor of Latvia’s bank by the Latvian anti-corruption authority... have had the effect of relieving him from office.”

GROWTH RISKS BROADLY BALANCED

“The risks surrounding the euro area growth outlook are assessed as broadly balanced.”

PROTECTIONISM

“The prevailing positive cyclical momentum could lead to stronger growth in the near term. On the other hand, downside risks continue to relate primarily to global factors, including rising protectionism and developments in foreign exchange and other financial markets.”

AMPLE STIMULUS NEEDED

“An ample degree of monetary stimulus remains necessary for underlying inflation pressures to continue to build up and support headline inflation developments over the medium term. This continued monetary support is provided by the net asset purchases, by the sizable stock of acquired assets, and the forthcoming reinvestments and via forward guidance on interest rates.”

UNDERLYING INFLATION SUBDUED

“Measures of underlying inflation remain subdued and have yet to show convincing signs of a sustained upward trend.”

MONITORING EXCHANGE RATES

“In this context (of subdued underlying inflation), the Governing Council will continue to monitor developments in the exchange rate and financial conditions with regard to their possible implications for the inflation outlook.”

FASTER GROWTH

“Incoming information, including our staff projections, confirms the strong and broad-based growth momentum in the euro area economy, which is projected to expand in the near term at a somewhat faster pace than previously expected.”

EMEA news desk

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