The European Central Bank (ECB) Governing Council member Bostjan Vasle spoke at the Euromoney conference in Vienna about investor speculation regarding imminent interest rate cuts.
“For me, personally, it’s absolutely premature to expect the first cuts at the beginning of the second quarter.”
“Inflation must be headed back to the 2% target “to be able to change the course of what we are doing.”
“A lot of volatility in inflation, and that’s why we are very careful with what we are expecting.”
“Labor markets are still very strong, the ECB needs to be careful on the past thought of wage inflation.”
“ECB needs to see fiscal policy supporting lower inflation.”
The EUR/USD pair is trading higher at 1.0884, up 0.03% on the day.
The European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt, Germany, is the reserve bank for the Eurozone. The ECB sets interest rates and manages monetary policy for the region.
The ECB primary mandate is to maintain price stability, which means keeping inflation at around 2%. Its primary tool for achieving this is by raising or lowering interest rates. Relatively high interest rates will usually result in a stronger Euro and vice versa.
The ECB Governing Council makes monetary policy decisions at meetings held eight times a year. Decisions are made by heads of the Eurozone national banks and six permanent members, including the President of the ECB, Christine Lagarde.
In extreme situations, the European Central Bank can enact a policy tool called Quantitative Easing. QE is the process by which the ECB prints Euros and uses them to buy assets – usually government or corporate bonds – from banks and other financial institutions. QE usually results in a weaker Euro.
QE is a last resort when simply lowering interest rates is unlikely to achieve the objective of price stability. The ECB used it during the Great Financial Crisis in 2009-11, in 2015 when inflation remained stubbornly low, as well as during the covid pandemic.
Quantitative tightening (QT) is the reverse of QE. It is undertaken after QE when an economic recovery is underway and inflation starts rising. Whilst in QE the European Central Bank (ECB) purchases government and corporate bonds from financial institutions to provide them with liquidity, in QT the ECB stops buying more bonds, and stops reinvesting the principal maturing on the bonds it already holds. It is usually positive (or bullish) for the Euro.