Thursday, July 3, 2014

ECB maintains key rates, including negative deposit rate

    The European Central Bank (ECB) maintained its benchmark refinancing rate at 0.15 percent, as widely expected, along with its other main rates, the deposit rate at minus 0.10 percent and the marginal lending facility rate at 0.40 percent.
    Last month the ECB cut its refi rate and its deposit rate by 10 basis points, the first time a major central bank has pushed its deposit rate into negative territory. It was the ECB's first rate cut in 2014, following a cut in November for a total cut of 50 basis points last year after a 25 point cut in 2012.
    ECB President Mario Draghi will comment on the decision by the ECB's Governing Council to maintain rates at a news conference later today.
    In addition to its rate cuts last month, the ECB launched up to 400 billion euros in targeted longer-term refinancing operations (LTROs), aimed at boosting lending to households and non-financial companies, extended its refinancing operations as fixed tenders and full allotment at least until the end of December 2016 and stopped sterilizing liquidity that was previously injected under the ECB's Securities Markets Program.
    ECB policymakers have also made it clear that they are ready to embark on outright asset purchases - known as quantitative easing - if inflation continues to remain too low.
    Inflation in the 18-nation euro area was steady at 0.5 percent in May, well below the ECB's target of inflation that is close to, but below 2.0 percent.


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