ECB Leaves Rates And QE Unchanged, Vows Readiness To Adjust Tools When Needed

The European Central Bank left its key interest rates and asset purchases unchanged on Thursday, in line with expectations, and reaffirmed its willingness to adjust the policy tools when needed.

The Governing Council left the main refi rate unchanged at a record low zero percent and the deposit rate was kept at -0.50 percent. The lending rate was held steady at 0.25 percent.

The Governing Council retained its forward guidance on interest rates, saying it expects the key ECB interest rates to remain at their present or lower levels until it has seen the inflation outlook robustly converge to a level sufficiently close to, but below, 2 percent.

The bank retained the size of the pandemic emergency purchase programme (PEPP) at EUR 1,850 billion.

In December, the PEPP envelope was boosted by EUR 500 billion and the horizon for net purchases under the scheme was extended to at least the end of March 2022.

The bank reiterated that the asset purchases would continue until at policymakers feel that the coronavirus, or Covid-19, crisis phase is over. The forward guidance on the PEPP asset purchases was left intact.

The size and the forward guidance on the asset purchase programme were also maintained. The monthly EUR 20 billion worth of asset purchases would continue.

“The Governing Council continues to stand ready to adjust all of its instruments, as appropriate, to ensure that inflation moves towards its aim in a sustained manner, in line with its commitment to symmetry,” the bank said.

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