FRANKFURT, (Reuters) - The European Central Bank left its policy stance unchanged as expected on Thursday, keeping a rate hike later this year on the table even as the euro zone economy suffers its biggest slowdown in half a decade.
Following are highlights of ECB President Mario Draghi’s comments at a press conference after the bank’s policy meeting.
“Significant monetary policy stimulus remains essential to support the further buildup of domestic price pressures and headline inflation developments over the medium term.
“This will be provided by our forward guidance on the key ECB interest rates, reinforced by the reinvestments of the sizable stock of acquired assets.”
“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.”
“We intend to continue reinvesting, in full, the principal payments from maturing securities purchased under the asset purchase programme for an extended period of time past the date when we start raising the key ECB interest rates, and in any case for as long as necessary.”
“Supportive financing conditions, favourable labour market dynamics and rising wage growth continue to underpin the euro area expansion and gradually rising inflation pressures.”
“This supports our confidence in the continued sustained convergence of inflation to levels that are below, but close to 2 percent over the medium term.”
“The risks surrounding the euro area growth outlook have moved to the downside on account of the persistence of uncertainties related to the geopolitical factors and the threat of protectionism, vulnerabilities in emerging markets and financial market volatility.”
“The persistence of uncertainties, in particular relating to geopolitical factors and the threat of protectionism, is weighing on economic sentiment.”
“The incoming information has continued to be weaker than expected on account of softer external demand and some country and sector-specific factors.”
EMEA News Desk