European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi attends a press conference at the ECB headquarters in Frankfurt,Germany, on Dec.14, 2017. The ECB Thursday decided to maintain the key interest rates for the euro area at present levels for an extended period of time, and well past the horizon of the net asset purchases. (Xinhua/Luo Huanhuan)
FRANKFURT, Dec. 14 (Xinhua)-- The European Central Bank (ECB) Thursday decided to maintain the key interest rates for the euro area at present levels for an extended period of time, and well past the horizon of the net asset purchases.
At the ECB governing council meeting, it was decided that the Eurozone base interest rate will remain at record low, or 0.00 percent, with the marginal lending rate and deposit rate remaining at 0.25 percent and minus 0.40 percent respectively, according to the bank. Regarding non-standard monetary policy measures, the ECB reaffirmed the decision made six weeks ago at the last governing council meeting, namely it will continue to make net asset purchases at a monthly pace of 30 billion euros from January 2018, until the end of September 2018, or beyond, if necessary.
ECB President Mario Draghi told at the press conference that the ECB monetary police decisions, including decisions on interest rates, asset purchases and the forward guidance remain broadly unchanged compared with the decisions made in October.
According to the latest ECB staff macroeconomic projections, Draghi said, ECB revised GDP growth forecast for the euro area upwards "substantially" to 2.4 percent in 2017 and 2.3 percent in 2018, followed by 1.9 percent in 2019 and 1.7 percent in 2020.
The incoming information indicates a strong pace of economic expansion and a significant improvement in the growth outlook, Draghi said, emphasizing that the strong cyclical momentum and the significant reduction of economic slack give grounds for "greater" confidence that inflation will converge towards ECB's inflation aim, namely below but close to 2 percent over the medium term.
In addition, the ECB revised the headline inflation projection for the euro area upwards to 1.4 percent in 2018, forecasting the annual inflation rate would rise to 1.5 percent and 1.7 percent in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
Regarding the revision of the outlook for headline inflation, Draghi explained that it mainly reflected higher oil and food prices.
The ECB's ultra-loose monetary policy has preserved the very favourable financing conditions that are "still needed", said Draghi.