The European Central Bank has kept interest rates on hold at historic lows. But, as David Pollard reports, its president, Mario Draghi, gave few hints as to what measures the Bank could take later this year.
Most economists expect the ECB to extend its asset purchase programme when it meets in December. But if that is the intention, Mario Draghi gave few clues away at this week's meeting - despite repeated attempts to get them. SOUNDBITE (English) JOURNALIST ASKING: "Has there been any discussion today about a change in policy and specifically whether you might want to extend the QE programme? SOUNDBITE (English) MARIO DRAGHI, ECB PRESIDENT, SAYING: "The answer to the second question is no, there was no discussion .... We didn't discuss tapering or the intended horizon, and here comes the second question, of our asset purchase programme." ECB monetary policymakers will be armed with their latest projections in December - and better able to make a decision, he said. Right now, inflation is at 0.4 per cent - the highest in 2 years - and should go higher. Growth is on a 'moderate but steady' path. But the ECB is still primed. SOUNDBITE (English) MARIO DRAGHI, ECB PRESIDENT, SAYING: "We remain committed to preserving the very substantial degree of monetary accommodation ... We will continue to act, if warranted, by using all the instruments available within our mandate." Economists say there could still a case for action. Draghi himself describing the risks to the outlook as tilted to the downside. SOUNDBITE (English) CHIEF ECONOMIST, WORLD FIRST, JEREMY COOK, SAYING: "It's difficult to get excited about inflation measures at the moment in the euro zone given the fact growth simply isn't strong enough to meaningfully create and reliably create inflation moving forward." But the latest ECB narrative did appear to confuse markets - at least momentarily. The euro bouncing up from a three-month low by half a per cent against the dollar ... Before then settling back again to a four-month low.