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18.02.2019 16:21

ECB's Villeroy: ECB rate move hinges on downturns duration

The timing of the ECB’s first post-crisis rate hike hinges on whether the euro zone’s current slowdown is a blip or a more protracted downturn, ECB policymaker Francois Villeroy said.

Asked in an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais whether recent data reduced chances for a hike after summer, Villeroy said the ECB would scrutinize the flow of economic data.

“The key question will be if the slowdown is temporary — with a bounce-back during this year — or more durable,” said Villeroy.

He added that there was a strong convergence of views within the ECB’s rate-setting Governing Council about the sequencing of its next policy steps and flexibility about the timing.

Villeroy said that resilient domestic demand in Germany, France and Spain was keeping the risk of recession at bay although the outlook was clouded by the threat of protectionism worldwide and Brexit in Europe. Against that economic backdrop, he said the ECB would be “pragmatic” in its use of its three main policy tools: its stock of assets, interest rates and liquidity provisions.


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