March 12, 2020 / 1:59 PM / 18 days ago

Highlights: Lagarde comments at ECB press conference

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The European Central Bank approved fresh stimulus measures on Thursday to help the ailing euro zone economy cope with the shock of the coronavirus pandemic but unexpectedly kept interest rates on hold.

European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde addresses a news conference on the outcome of the meeting of the Governing Council, in Frankfurt, Germany, March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

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

USING ALL TOOLS AVAILABLE

“Our mandate is price stability and clearly in the face of the current circumstances we have to use all the tools that we have available in order to support and contribute our part to this collective approach that is badly needed.”

U.S. RESTRICTIONS ON TRAVEL

“I’m not going to comment on decisions made by a government outside the euro area. Our job in that respect is to analyse the economic consequences that will result from those decisions and to assess which segment of the economy will need support and will benefit from the tools we are deploying at the moment.”

ASSET PURCHASES

“I can assure you that first of all we make use of all the flexibilities that are embedded in the framework of the asset purchase programme and second that at the end of the asset purchase programme we will converge towards the capital keys.”

AMBITIOUS COORDINATED POLICY NEEDED

“An ambitious an coordinated fiscal policy response is required to support businesses and workers at risk.”

GOVTS NEED TO TAKE ACTION

“Governments and all other policy institutions are called upon to take timely and targeted actions to address the public health challenge of containing the spread of the coronavirus and mitigate the economic impact.”

HURTS SPENDING PLANS

“The heightened uncertainty negatively affects expenditure plans and their financing.”

SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON PRODUCTION

“Even if ultimately temporary by nature, it will have a significant impact on economic activity, in particular it will slow down production as a result of disrupted supply chains and reduce domestic and foreign demand, especially through the adverse impact of the necessary containment measures.”

CORONAVIRUS MAJOR SHOCK TO GROWTH

“The spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 has been a major shock to the growth prospects of the global economy and the euro area economy and it has heightened market volatility.”

Reuters news desk

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