July 11, 2018 / 7:19 AM / 4 months ago

First ECB rate rise at earliest 'through summer' of 2019: Villeroy

FILE PHOTO: Governor of the Bank of France Francois Villeroy de Galhau arrives at the Petruzzelli Theatre during a G7 for Financial ministers in the southern Italian city of Bari, Italy May 11, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - The European Central Bank’s (ECB) first interest rate rise could take place at some point through the summer of 2019 at the earliest if inflation conditions warrant a move, ECB policy maker Francois Villeroy de Galhau said on Wednesday.

“Net asset purchases should end in December; the first interest rate rise could take place at the earliest through the summer of 2019 depending on the inflation outlook,” Villeroy told a financial conference in Paris.

The ECB said in June it expected its key interest rates to stay unchanged at least “through” the summer of 2019, leaving investors guessing whether it could mean a decision during the summer or only later.

Financial markets have since positioned for a first rate move closer toward the end of 2019 despite the ECB’s guidance, largely echoed by Villeroy in his comments.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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