* Noyer: forward guidance fully anchored to mandate
* Coeure: communication changed, not strategy
(Adds Coeure comments)
By Ingrid Melander
AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France, July 6 The European
Central Bank's decision to break with tradition by declaring it
would keep interest rates at record lows for an extended period
is in line with its mandate, senior policymakers said on
Saturday, playing down the degree of shift in policy.
The ECB on Thursday responded to turbulence caused by the
U.S. Federal Reserve's planned withdrawal of monetary stimulus
by abandoning its own insistence that it never offers forward
guidance on policy.
"This is a change in communication but not in monetary
policy strategy," ECB executive board member Benoit Coeure told
Le Monde newspaper in an interview.
"It is very important that the ECB protects the euro zone
from global disturbances. It must bring stability at a time when
growth is weak."
The Bank of England also gave a steer on future interest
rate moves on Thursday, after which ECB President Mario Draghi
said that the ECB's decision was driven by market volatility
that took hold after the Fed set out its plan last month.
Bank of France Governor Christian Noyer added his support on
"Forward guidance is fully anchored to our mandate and in
line with the two pillars of our strategy," Noyer told
reporters, referring to the ECB's inflation mandate and to its
monitoring of real economy and monetary developments.
The ECB targets inflation close to 2 percent but without
exceeding that level.
Noyer also told an economists' conference in
Aix-en-Provence, southern France, that strengthening regulation
of financial markets was necessary to reduce risks.
Neither Noyer nor Coeure offered more detail on the length
of the "extended period" during which ECB rates would stay at
Former ECB chief Jean-Claude Trichet took a more sceptical
tone on forward guidance, saying he believed that markets had
actually focused on Draghi not ruling out a further cut.
"I don't think the part about forward guidance ... was
important," he told reporters on the sidelines of the
Aix-en-Provence conference. "And generally speaking, I don't
believe much in forward guidance as it is practised by many
(Additional reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Elena Berton
and David Goodman)