ECB Holds Steady on Interest Rates; Draghi Hints at Policy Review in December

Cape Times (South Africa), October 23, 2015 | Go to article overview

ECB Holds Steady on Interest Rates; Draghi Hints at Policy Review in December


BYLINE: Balazs Koranyi Valletta

The European Central Bank (ECB) left interest rates and its money-printing programme unchanged yesterday and president Mario Draghi said it would review in December what more it could do to tackle weak inflation.

Falling commodity prices and emerging market concerns were weighing on economic prospects, he said.

Draghi said the bank would fully pursue its asset purchase scheme up to e60 billion (R900bn) a month and underlined he could extend it beyond September next year as part of efforts to boost euro-zone growth and bring inflation closer to its target of 2 percent.

But in a direct call to euro-zone governments to add their weight to a still tentative recovery in the region, he stressed that monetary policy "should not be the only game in town".

"Fiscal policies should support the economic recovery, while remaining in compliance with EU fiscal rules," he said.

The ECB decision to hold key interest rates at record lows was widely expected ahead of the meeting of its top policymakers in the Maltese capital of Valletta. Most of the attention was on clues as to whether it was ready to expand or extend the bond-buying scheme launched in March.

Although some rate-setters have argued that the ECB should tweak the asset purchases now, most believe that quantitative easing needs to be given more time to work as its positive effects are just starting to pass through.

Draghi emphasised that argument, saying that while risks to inflation and growth remained on the downside, deeper analysis was required before taking further action. …

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