ECB policymakers open to further rate hikes past July | Inquirer Business

ECB policymakers open to further rate hikes past July

/ 11:26 AM July 14, 2023

FRANKFURT  -The European Central Bank may need to continue raising interest rates beyond this month to bring inflation back to target, ECB policymakers said at their last meeting according to an account published on Thursday.

The ECB raised its interest rates to their highest level in 22 years at the June 14-15 meeting and said a ninth consecutive hike was all but guaranteed in July as it predicted inflation would stay above its 2 percent target through the end of 2025.

READ: ECB hikes rates to 22-year high and says not done yet


The ECB‘s account of that meeting showed rate increases might continue at the central bank’s following gathering on Sept 13-14, as earlier reported by Reuters.


“It was seen as essential to communicate that monetary policy had still more ground to cover to bring inflation back to target in a timely manner,” the ECB said. “The view was held that the Governing Council could consider increasing interest rates beyond July, if necessary.”

It added market expectations at the time — which priced in rate hikes in June and July and a 20-percent probability of an additional 25 basis-point increase afterwards followed by cuts in the first half of 2024 — “could be judged as insufficient to bring inflation back” to 2 percent.

Data since that meeting showed the euro zone economy losing steam and inflation in the bloc falling for a third straight month in June.

READ: Euro zone saw winter recession, more challenges ahead

But so-called core prices, such as those for services, have been rising stubbornly fast and aren’t expected to relent soon, leaving the door open to a further rate hike by the ECB in September.

Still, policymakers agreed to follow a “data-dependent approach” and “meeting-by-meeting optionality” to decide on rates beyond July.


The ECB raised borrowing costs by a quarter of a percentage point in June but the account showed “a preference was also initially expressed for raising the key ECB interest rates by 50 basis points”.

It also decided to stop replacing bonds bought its Asset Purchase Program when they mature although one policymaker proposed “deferring the decision to a later date” to assess how the market would digest the repayment of half-a-trillion-euros worth of central bank loans.

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TAGS: ECB, economy, euro zone, Inflation, rate hikes

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