19th February 2016

ECB ready to further ease monetary policy

Given that inflation in the eurozone is again dangerously close to zero, the ECB is ready to reconsider its monetary policy tools deployment in order to bring it closer to the “below, but close to 2%” target. This was revealed by the published minutes of the bank´s Governing Council´s meeting of 20-21 January. The course correction could come at the 10 March meeting. Insiders consider as options the possible increase of asset purchases (QE program) from €60 to €80 billion monthly, or lowering of the already negative deposit rate (today -0.30%). ECB President Mario Draghi confirmed this in a discussion with the MEPs from the finance committee. Eurozone inflation moved upwards as a result of the massive QE program of the ECB, but very low oil prices push it downwards once again. Some economists worry that the ECB could quickly run out of monetary policy tools to tackle this development. Mario Draghi stated, however, that the central bank has a lot of tools at its disposal and is ready to use them, if necessary. On another issue, he mentioned the bank´s plan to consider abolishing the €500 banknote, since it is often used for criminal purposes.

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Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic