FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The European Central Bank kept policy unchanged on Thursday and ECB chief Mario Draghi was expected to play down worries over recent softness in the euro zone economy, leaving the door open to ending lavish bond purchases by the close of the year.
Following are highlights of ECB President Mario Draghi’s comments at a post-policy meeting news conference.
“We didn’t discuss monetary policy per se (at today’s meeting). So all Governing Council members reported on the situation of their own countries.”
“The risks surrounding the euro area growth outlook remain broadly balanced. However, risks related to global factors, including the threat of increased protectionism, have become more prominent.”
“Incoming information since our meeting in early March points towards some (economic growth) moderation while remaining consistent with a solid and broad-based expansion of the euro area economy.”
“Economic indicators suggest some moderation in the pace of growth since the start of the year. This moderation may in part reflect a fall back from the high pace of growth observed at the end of last year, while temporary factors may also be at work.”
“Growth is expected to remain solid and broad-based.”
“The underlying strength of the euro area economy continues to support our confidence that inflation will converge towards our inflation aim of below, but close to 2 percent over the medium-term.”
“Measures of underlying inflation remain subdued overall. Looking ahead, they are expected to rise gradually over the medium term, supported by our monetary policy measures, the continuing economic expansion, the corresponding absorption of economic slack and rising wage growth.”
“Measures of underlying inflation remain subdued and have yet to show convincing signs of a sustained upward trend.”
“Measures of underlying inflation ... are expected to rise gradually over the medium term.”
“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.”
“The exchange rate stabilised and recent volatility is less, so it was not discussed.”
“The Governing Council will continue to monitor developments in the exchange rate and other financial conditions with regard to their possible implications for the inflation outlook.”
Compiled by EMEA News Desk; Editing by Alison Williams