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22 October 2015

ECB's Draghi: Introductory statement to the press conference

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Mario Draghi confirmed that the ECB's Governing Council had decided to keep the key ECB interest rates unchanged. In order to maintain an appropriate degree of monetary accommodation, the ECB recalled that it is ready to adjust its QE programme if the economic conditions render it necessary.

Mario Draghi, President of the ECB, Vítor Constâncio, Vice-President of the ECB, Malta

Based on our regular economic and monetary analyses, and in line with our forward guidance, the Governing Council decided to keep the key ECB interest rates unchanged. As regards non-standard monetary policy measures, the asset purchases are proceeding smoothly and continue to have a favourable impact on the cost and availability of credit for firms and households.

The Governing Council has been closely monitoring incoming information since our meeting in early September. While euro area domestic demand remains resilient, concerns over growth prospects in emerging markets and possible repercussions for the economy from developments in financial and commodity markets continue to signal downside risks to the outlook for growth and inflation. [...] In this context, the degree of monetary policy accommodation will need to be re-examined at our December monetary policy meeting, when the new Eurosystem staff macroeconomic projections will be available. The Governing Council is willing and able to act by using all the instruments available within its mandate if warranted in order to maintain an appropriate degree of monetary accommodation. In particular, the Governing Council recalls that the asset purchase programme provides sufficient flexibility in terms of adjusting its size, composition and duration. In the meantime, we will continue to fully implement the monthly asset purchases of €60 billion. [...]

Let me now explain our assessment of the available information in greater detail, starting with the economic analysis. Euro area real GDP increased by 0.4%, quarter on quarter, in the second quarter of 2015, following a rise of 0.5% in the previous quarter. The outcome for the second quarter reflected positive contributions from both domestic demand and net exports. The most recent survey indicators point to a broadly similar pace of real GDP growth in the third quarter of the year. Overall, we expect the economic recovery to continue, albeit dampened, in particular, by weaker than expected foreign demand. Domestic demand should be further supported by our monetary policy measures and their favourable impact on financial conditions, as well as by the progress made with fiscal consolidation and structural reforms. Moreover, the decline in oil prices should provide support for households’ real disposable income and corporate profitability and, therefore, private consumption and investment. However, the recovery in domestic demand in the euro area continues to be hampered by the necessary balance sheet adjustments in a number of sectors and the sluggish pace of implementation of structural reforms. [...]

According to Eurostat, euro area annual HICP inflation was -0.1% in September 2015, down from 0.1% in August. [...] Annual HICP inflation is expected to rise at the turn of the year, also on account of base effects associated with the fall in oil prices in late 2014. Inflation rates are foreseen to pick up further during 2016 and 2017, supported by the expected economic recovery, the pass-through of past declines in the euro exchange rate and the assumption of somewhat higher oil prices in the years ahead as currently reflected in oil futures markets. However, there are risks stemming from the economic outlook and from financial and commodity market developments which could further slow down the gradual increase in inflation rates towards levels closer to 2%. These risks are being closely monitored by the Governing Council.

Turning to the monetary analysis, recent data confirm solid growth in broad money (M3), notwithstanding a decline in the annual growth rate of M3 to 4.8% in August 2015 from 5.3% in July. [...]

Loan dynamics continued to improve. The annual rate of change of loans to non-financial corporations (adjusted for loan sales and securitisation) increased to 0.4% in August, up from 0.3% in July, pursuing its gradual recovery since the beginning of 2014. Despite these improvements, developments in loans to enterprises continue to reflect the lagged relationship with the business cycle, credit risk, credit supply factors, and the ongoing adjustment of financial and non-financial sector balance sheets. [...]The euro area bank lending survey for the third quarter of 2015 confirms the increase in demand for bank loans, supported by the general level of interest rates, financing needs for investment purposes and housing market prospects. In addition, credit standards eased further on loans to enterprises, notably due to increasing competitive pressures in retail banking, while tightening somewhat on loans to households for house purchase. Overall, the monetary policy measures we have put in place since June 2014 provide clear support for improvements both in borrowing conditions for firms and households and in credit flows across the euro area. [...]

[...] Given continued high structural unemployment and low potential output growth in the euro area, the ongoing cyclical recovery should be supported by effective structural policies. In particular, actions to improve the business environment, including the provision of an adequate public infrastructure, are vital to increase productive investment, boost job creation and raise productivity. [...]

Full statement

Monetary policy decisions

Decisions taken by the Governing Council of the ECB (in addition to decisions setting interest rates)

© ECB - European Central Bank

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