ECB hawks lay off taper talk at short, calm meeting

FRANKFURT, April 22 (Reuters) - European Central Bank policymakers meeting on Thursday did not discuss plans for the ECB’s emergency bond purchases beyond June and even policy “hawks” did not repeat their public calls for reducing the pace of money printing, three sources told Reuters.

The ECB decided to continue running its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP) at its current clip this quarter to keep borrowing costs stable for governments, companies and households.

While that decision was expected, analysts were awaiting hints about the pace of PEPP after June, after governors including the Netherlands’ Klaas Knot raised the prospect of dialling it down.

The sources said rate-setters backed chief economist Philip Lane’s proposal to reconfirm the ECB’s policy stance, including significantly higher bond purchases this quarter. They said Knot did not repeat his call for tapering the bond purchases if economic conditions allow.

One of the sources added that policymakers agreed before their meeting not to discuss the policy path from June and to reserve that discussion for when new staff projections are available.

The meeting was short and calm, with only brief mentions of the euro’s recent appreciation, the sources added.

Spokespeople for the ECB and the Dutch central bank declined to comment. (Reporting By Francesco Canepa and Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Catherine Evans)