November 19, 2018 / 4:37 AM / 22 days ago

ECB can adapt policy normalisation after bond buys end - Villeroy

FILE PHOTO: Governor of the Bank of France Francois Villeroy de Galhau arrives at the Petruzzelli Theatre during a G7 for Financial ministers in the southern Italian city of Bari, Italy May 11, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

TOKYO (Reuters) - The European Central Bank’s monetary policy will stay easy even after it probably stops adding to its pile of bonds next month and it can adapt its policy normalisation as needed, ECB policymaker Francois Villeroy de Galhau said on Monday.

The ECB is due to wrap up its 2.6 trillion euro bond buying programme next month, paving the way to raise interest rates sometime after next summer for the first time in eight years as part of a long path towards monetary policy normalisation.

“Net purchases will very probably end in December. The end of our net asset purchases will not, however, mean the end of our monetary stimulus, far from it,” Villeroy said in a speech for delivery at conference in Tokyo.

Once asset purchases are wrapped up, Villeroy, who is also governor of the French central bank, said it would be important to adapt the pace of policy normalisation depending on the flow of economic data.

To that end, the ECB had three tools at its disposal in the form of the reinvestment of its stock of assets, conventional interest rates and bank refinancing operations.

In terms of the sequencing, Villeroy said he preferred to slow the rate of reinvestment only after the first interest rate increase.

“And so, we are not obliged to rush, as early as at our December meeting, to set out the precise length of our reinvestment period,” Villeroy said.

The ECB could also reconsider providing liquidity and credit to banks if the need arose, although not necessarily on the same terms as was possible in the past.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas in Paris; editing by David Evans

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