FRANKFURT, April 10 (Reuters) - The European Central Bank kept its policy unchanged as expected on Wednesday, maintaining interest rates at record lows and keeping its guidance for steady interest rates this year despite a sharp slowdown in economic growth.
Following are highlights of ECB President Mario Draghi’s comments at a press conference after the bank’s policy meeting.
“The priority for Italy is to restore growth and employment, and Italy knows how to do it.”
“Central banks don’t usually intervene in the political debate. On occasion the ECB can defend the European framework and point out ways to complete it and remedy weaknesses.”
“We haven’t discussed the merits or cons of mitigating measures ... we need further information that will come to us between now and June.”
“Incoming data continue to be weak, especially for the manufacturing sector ... The slower growth momentum is expected to extend into the current year.”
“The estimated probabilities of a recession remain low.”
“We continue to expect the key interest rates to remain at their present levels at least through the end of 2019, and in any case for as long as necessary to ensure the continued sustained convergence of inflation to our objective.”
“The pricing of the new TLTRO-III operations will take into account a thorough assessment of the bank-based transmission channel of monetary policy, as well as further developments in the economic outlook.”
“Our monetary policy measures, including the new series of TLTROs, will help to safeguard favorable bank lending conditions and will continue to support access to financing, in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises.”
“Significant monetary policy stimulus is being provided by our forward guidance on the key ECB interest rates, reinforced by the reinvestments of the sizeable stock of acquired assets and the new series of TLTROs.”
EMEA News Desk