Mario Draghi has underlined that the ECB still plans to end a major crisis-era stimulus programme by the end of this year, despite recent data on the euro area economy being “somewhat weaker than expected.”
Speaking to a European Parliament committee on Monday, Mr Draghi said that the ECB’s intention remains to stop expanding its €2.6tn bond-buying programme at the end of 2018, marking the beginning of the phasing out of an initiative credited with helping to spur the bloc’s economic recovery.
“The governing council continues to anticipate that . . . net asset purchases will come to an end in December 2018”, Mr Draghi said, adding that this would be “subject to” upcoming data confirming the ECB’s medium term inflation outlook.
The ECB president acknowledged that “measures of underlying inflation” continue to be “muted”, but stressed that there are indications that the economy will strengthen.
“Generally there is good reason to be confident that underlying inflation will gradually rise in the period ahead”, he said.
Mr Draghi noted that, even after the quantitative easing programme begins to be wound down, “a significant degree of monetary policy stimulus will be retained.”
In his remarks to MEPs, he also called for an intensification of policy work on reinforcing the euro area’s crisis resilience, notably by completing its banking union.
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