Excerpts from the Introductory statement to the press conference by Mario Draghi:
First, the key ECB interest rates were kept unchanged and we continue to expect them to remain at their present levels for an extended period of time, and well past the horizon of our net asset purchases.
Second, as regards non-standard monetary policy measures, we will continue to make purchases under the asset purchase programme (APP) at the current monthly pace of €60 billion until the end of December 2017. From January 2018 our net asset purchases are intended to continue at a monthly pace of €30 billion until the end of September 2018, or beyond, if necessary, and in any case until the Governing Council sees a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation consistent with its inflation aim. If the outlook becomes less favourable, or if financial conditions become inconsistent with further progress towards a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation, we stand ready to increase the APP in terms of size and/or duration.
Third, the Eurosystem will reinvest the principal payments from maturing securities purchased under the APP for an extended period of time after the end of its net asset purchases, and in any case for as long as necessary. This will contribute both to favourable liquidity conditions and to an appropriate monetary policy stance.
And fourth, we also decided to continue to conduct the main refinancing operations and three-month longer-term refinancing operations as fixed rate tender procedures with full allotment for as long as necessary, and at least until the end of the last reserve maintenance period of 2019.
Today’s monetary policy decisions were taken to preserve the very favourable financing conditions that are still needed for a sustained return of inflation rates towards levels that are below, but close to, 2%. The recalibration of our asset purchases reflects growing confidence in the gradual convergence of inflation rates towards our inflation aim, on account of the increasingly robust and broad-based economic expansion, an uptick in measures of underlying inflation and the continued effective pass-through of our policy measures to the financing conditions of the real economy. At the same time, domestic price pressures are still muted overall and the economic outlook and the path of inflation remain conditional on continued support from monetary policy. Therefore, an ample degree of monetary stimulus remains necessary for underlying inflation pressures to continue to build up and support headline inflation developments over the medium term. This continued monetary support is provided by the additional net asset purchases, by the sizeable stock of acquired assets and the forthcoming reinvestments, and by our forward guidance on interest rates.