“This major step frontloads the transition from the prevailing highly accommodative level of policy rates towards levels that will ensure the timely return of inflation to the ECB’s 2 per cent medium-term target,” ECB President Christine Lagarde said while explaining the decision at a press conference soon after the monetary policy was announced.
The Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) today decided to raise three key interest rates by 75 basis points. Accordingly, the interest rate on main refinancing operations, marginal lending facility, and the deposit facility will be increased to 1.25 per cent, 1.50 per cent and 0.75 per cent respectively, with effect from September 14, 2022.
Based on its current assessment, over the next several meetings the Governing Council expects to raise interest rates further to dampen demand and guard against the risk of a persistent upward shift in inflation expectations. The Governing Council further said that it will regularly re-evaluate its policy path in light of incoming information and the evolving inflation outlook.
The Governing Council took today’s decision, and expects to raise interest rates further, because inflation remains far too high and is likely to stay above target for an extended period. According to Eurostat’s flash estimate, inflation reached 9.1 per cent in August. Soaring energy and food prices, demand pressures in some sectors owing to the reopening of the economy, and supply bottlenecks are still driving up inflation. Price pressures have continued to strengthen and broaden across the economy and inflation may rise further in the near term. “As the current drivers of inflation fade over time and the normalisation of monetary policy works its way through to the economy and price-setting, inflation will come down,” ECB said in a statement on its website.
ECB has also revised up its inflation projections and inflation is now expected to average 8.1 per cent in 2022, 5.5 per cent in 2023 and 2.3 per cent in 2024.
Speaking about the economy, the ECB said that after a rebound in the first half of 2022, recent data point to a substantial slowdown in euro area economic growth, with the economy expected to stagnate later in the year and in the first quarter of 2023. “Very high energy prices are reducing the purchasing power of people’s incomes and, although supply bottlenecks are easing, they are still constraining economic activity.” Accordingly, ECB has revised down its projections for economic growth, and now expect the economy to grow by 3.1 per cent in 2022, 0.9 per cent in 2023 and 1.9 per cent in 2024.
Finally, “the lasting vulnerabilities caused by the pandemic still pose a risk to the smooth transmission of monetary policy. The Governing Council will therefore continue applying flexibility in reinvesting redemptions coming due in the pandemic emergency purchase programme portfolio, with a view to countering risks to the transmission mechanism related to the pandemic,” the ECB said.
The ECB’s future policy rate decisions will continue to be data-dependent and follow a meeting-by-meeting approach.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk (RKS)