The program of quantitative easing by the European Central Bank (ECB), the volume of which today was increased to €80 billion a month, will continue to operate until at least the end of March 2017, said the Chairman of the ECB, Mario Draghi. The base rate of the ECB, today reduced to zero, will not rise much longer, and if necessary may be again reduced, said Draghi, speaking at a press conference that followed the meeting of the Board of Directors of the ECB.
Commenting on the adopted on Thursday a decision, the ECB President pointed to the need for the withdrawal of inflation in the Euro zone at slightly below 2% per annum, noting that in February 2016 in the Euro area has experienced deflation of 0.2%. According to Draghi, due to lower energy prices, deflation in the Eurozone will continue in the coming months, however, towards the end of the year, consumer prices will begin to grow again.
According to the forecast of ECB, by the end of 2016, inflation in the Euro area should be 0.1%, in 2017 to grow to 1.3%, and in 2018 to 1.6%. Draghi also stressed that the pace of Eurozone GDP growth in 2016 will be lower than previously expected the economy to grow by only 1.4% instead of 1.7%.
“Growth prospects in the Eurozone continue to face bias to the downside,” said the head of the ECB, referring to the risks of increased uncertainty in the global economy and geopolitical tensions.
Earlier today, the ECB reduced to a zero base interest rate, which remained at 0.05% since September 2014. Immediately after the announcement of the ECB decision, the Euro against the dollar fell from $1,0975 to $1,0836 and the Euro against the ruble for the first time since 24 December 2015 fell below 76 rubles. However, the single currency rose again: the dollar to $1,1137, the ruble — to RUR 79,256