July 25, 2019 / 2:33 PM / a month ago

IMF backs ECB's commitment to easy monetary policy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund on Thursday said it supported the European Central Bank’s commitment to maintain strong accommodation in its monetary policy, and its willingness to consider further accommodative steps as needed.

The ECB revamped its interest rate guidance on Thursday and asked its staff to prepare options for more policy easing, explicitly opening the door to a rate cut as well as more bond buys as soon as September.

The ECB now expects its key rates to stay at present or lower levels at least through the first half of 2020, giving up a previous pledge to keep rates steady through mid-2020.

IMF spokesman Gerry Rice, speaking to reporters in Washington, welcomed the comments.

“The IMF staff support the ECB’s commitment to maintain strong accommodation in its monetary policy for a prolonged period of time, and its willingness to consider further accommodative steps, if necessary, together with a review of appropriate measures,” he said.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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