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Since 1 January 1999 the European Central Bank (ECB) has been responsible for conducting monetary policy for the euro area - the world’s largest economy after the United States.

Articles by European Central Bank

Private sector working group on euro risk-free rates publishes recommendations on EURIBOR fallbacks

1 day ago

11 May 2021
Working group recommendations should help EURIBOR users comply with EU Benchmarks Regulation fallback obligations
Key milestone reached with publication of recommendations as working group enters new phase and secretariat passes from ECB to ESMA
The private sector working group on euro risk-free rates has today published its recommendations addressing events that would trigger fallbacks in EURIBOR-related contracts, as well as €STR-based EURIBOR fallback rates (rates that could be used if a fallback is triggered). While there is currently no plan to discontinue EURIBOR, the development of more robust fallback language addresses the risk of a potential permanent discontinuation and is in line with the EU Benchmarks Regulation (BMR). The valuable feedback from the two

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Philip R. Lane: Interview with Le Monde

2 days ago

Interview with Philip R. Lane, Member of the Executive Board of the ECB, conducted by Eric Albert and Marie Charrel
10 May 2021
The eurozone has gone through a double-dip recession. After the huge recession of the first half of 2020, GDP fell again in the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. What is the state of the eurozone economy?
Rather than looking at this quarter by quarter, we should look at how far the economy is below its 2019 level. Right now, we’re probably four or five per cent below that. This is a huge downturn. In comparison, in a normal recession, it is maybe one or two per cent.
I think we are now, in May and June, at an inflection point. From now on, the economy will be growing quickly, but from a subdued level. So even with pretty rapid growth for

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Frank Elderson: Interview with Het Financieele Dagblad

4 days ago

Interview with Frank Elderson, Member of the Executive Board of the ECB, conducted by Annemiek Leclaire
8 May 2021
The job interview with René Smits started as soon as I had come through security at De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB). “Let’s take the stairs,” he said and began to race up two steps at a time, asking me the first questions on the way. It’s far easier to pose questions when you’re dashing upstairs than to answer them. By the time we arrived on the fourth floor I was out of breath. Smits had invited me for breakfast but I decided to have something at home first because I knew I wouldn’t manage to eat a bite.
I began my career at the law firm Houthoff Advocaten specialising in EU competition law. At the end of 1998, when stationed in Brussels, I was charged with researching an

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Christine Lagarde: Towards a green capital markets union for Europe

6 days ago

Speech by Christine Lagarde, President of the ECB, at the European Commission’s high-level conference on the proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, 6 May 2021
Frankfurt am Main, 6 May 2021
I would like to thank Commissioner McGuinness for inviting me to speak at this conference on the Commission’s proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive.
When technology and finance unite around a common purpose, the consequences for monetary unions can be far-reaching.
Let me borrow an example from US history.
The economic and financial integration of the United States in the late 19th century owed a great deal to the new technology of railroads. With a fragmented local banking system, the huge amount of financing needed for this project could only be

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Luis de Guindos: Interview with La Repubblica

9 days ago

Interview with Luis de Guindos, conducted by Tonia Mastrobuoni on 27 April 2021
3 May 2021
Are the euro area’s economic prospects likely to worsen in a scenario where coronavirus variants continue to multiply?
The current situation is bittersweet. The first quarter was weaker than we expected three months ago. On the other hand, the pace of vaccination is gaining momentum across Europe. This is good news, because it will have a major impact on the economy. For the time being, it is estimated that growth will be around 4%. We expect the second half of the year to be very positive, even if there is still uncertainty. We note elsewhere that as soon as vaccination accelerates – like in the United Kingdom, Israel or the United States – the situation normalises rapidly. I hope that we will

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ECB appoints Irene Heemskerk as head of its climate change centre

12 days ago

30 April 2021
Irene Heemskerk will start on 15 June 2021
Head of climate change centre will report to President Lagarde
Climate change centre will shape and steer ECB’s climate agenda
The Executive Board of the European Central Bank (ECB) has appointed Irene Heemskerk as head of the ECB’s climate change centre as of 15 June 2021.
The ECB launched its climate change centre earlier this year to shape and steer its climate agenda internally and externally, building on the expertise of all teams already working on climate-related topics at the bank.
“The climate change centre will focus the ECB’s efforts to address climate change,” said ECB President Christine Lagarde. “Irene Heemskerk brings the experience, knowledge and enthusiasm required to lead the climate change centre’s work

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Frank Elderson: All the way to zero: guiding banks towards a carbon-neutral Europe

13 days ago

Keynote speech by Frank Elderson, Vice-Chair of the Supervisory Board and Member of the Executive Board of the ECB, at the conference on “The Role of Banks in Greening Our Economies” organised by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Hrvatska narodna banka
Frankfurt am Main, 29 April 2021
It is a great honour for me to be with you today to discuss the role of banks in greening the economy. And I am very happy to delve into the topic of climate change at an event co-organised by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) – an institution whose own work remarkably exemplifies what international cooperation can achieve in supporting the greening of the economy. Your commitment to meeting the goals set under the Paris Agreement is outstanding. It offers

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Philip R. Lane: Interview with Dagens Industri TV

13 days ago

Interview with Philip R. Lane, Member of the Executive Board of the ECB, conducted by Gabriel Mellqvist on 29 April 2021
29 April 2021
Philip Lane, very nice to have you with us. The first question very broadly: in what shape is the European economy today?
We are very much at an inflection point. Until now, the first weeks of this year, the first months of this year, have really still been dominated by all of the measures we’ve needed to take to contain the virus. As we all know, the services sector in Europe has been very restricted by all of the lockdown measures. On the other hand, manufacturing has been quite resilient in these months because the world economy has been recovering, world trade has been recovering, and there are many European firms benefiting from that. And when we

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Isabel Schnabel: Q&A on Twitter

14 days ago

Interview on Twitter with Isabel Schnabel, Member of the Executive Board of the ECB, conducted and published on 28 April 2021
28 April 2021
Hello, this is @Isabel_Schnabel, Executive Board member at the ECB. I’m looking forward to answering your questions for the next 45 minutes or so. Join the conversation! #AskECB
Does the ECB, like the Bank of China, also plan to conduct climate stress tests in the financial sector in the future to expand the tools for risk analysis in the area of green monetary policy? What further measures are planned here? #AskECB
@Isabel_Schnabel: The ECB is currently implementing an economy-wide climate stress test to analyse the vulnerability of firms and euro area banks to physical and transition risks. The potential impact on the portfolios of non-banks

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Philip R. Lane: Maximising the user value of statistics: lessons from globalisation and the pandemic

16 days ago

Speech by Philip R. Lane, Member of the Executive Board of the ECB, at the European Statistical Forum (virtual)
26 April 2021
Economic and financial statistics play a central role in guiding monetary policy decisions: central banks constitute an important user group for the output of statistical agencies, while also helping to collect the data underpinning many macro-financial statistical series. Events such as the European Statistical Forum provide a welcome opportunity to bring together the producers and users of statistics.
In my remarks today, I will discuss two main topics: the first topic is the globalisation-related measurement challenges for macroeconomic statistics, with a focus on external and national accounts; the second topic is the data needs exposed by the pandemic

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Fabio Panetta: Monetary autonomy in a globalised world

16 days ago

Welcome address by Fabio Panetta, Member of the Executive Board of the ECB, at the joint BIS, BoE, ECB and IMF conference on “Spillovers in a “post-pandemic, low-for-long” world”
Frankfurt am Main, 26 April 2021
Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak at this conference on spillovers in a “post-pandemic, low-for-long” world.[1]
Over the last decade, globalisation has called into question central banks’ ability to achieve domestic objectives. According to some[2], close economic and financial ties across borders make inflation more of a global phenomenon than a domestic one. And spillovers would leave central banks less able to control domestic financing conditions.
Today, these views are being put to the test.
US authorities are engaging in unprecedented fiscal and

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Decisions taken by the Governing Council of the ECB (in addition to decisions setting interest rates)

19 days ago

April 2021
23 April 2021
Market operations
Discontinuation of the offering of the 84-day USD liquidity providing operations
On 19 April 2021 the Governing Council approved the discontinuation of the 84-day USD liquidity providing operations as of 1 July 2021. The decision to discontinue offering dollar liquidity at the 84-day maturity was taken jointly by the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the ECB and the Swiss National Bank, in consultation with the Federal Reserve. A related joint press release coordinated among these central banks was issued on 23 April 2021 and is available on the ECB’s website.
Market infrastructure and payments
New policies for collateral mobilisation and settlement
On 6 April 2021 the Governing Council approved a new Eurosystem policy for collateral

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Christine Lagarde, Luis de Guindos: Introductory statement to the press conference (with Q&A)

20 days ago

Christine Lagarde, President of the ECB,Luis de Guindos, Vice-President of the ECB
Frankfurt am Main, 22 April 2021
Jump to the transcript of the questions and answers
Ladies and gentlemen, the Vice-President and I are very pleased to welcome you to our press conference. We will now report on the outcome of the meeting of the Governing Council.
While the recovery in global demand and the sizeable fiscal stimulus are supporting global and euro area activity, the near-term economic outlook remains clouded by uncertainty about the resurgence of the pandemic and the roll-out of vaccination campaigns. Persistently high rates of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection and the associated extension and tightening of containment measures continue to constrain economic activity in the short term.

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Monetary policy decisions

20 days ago

22 April 2021
At today’s meeting, the Governing Council decided to reconfirm its very accommodative monetary policy stance:
The interest rate on the main refinancing operations and the interest rates on the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility will remain unchanged at 0.00%, 0.25% and -0.50% respectively. The Governing Council expects the key ECB interest rates to remain at their present or lower levels until it has seen the inflation outlook robustly converge to a level sufficiently close to, but below, 2% within its projection horizon, and such convergence has been consistently reflected in underlying inflation dynamics.
The Governing Council will continue to conduct net asset purchases under the pandemic emergency purchase programme (PEPP) with a total envelope of

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April 2021 euro area bank lending survey

22 days ago

20 April 2021
Credit standards for loans to firms tightened moderately
Demand for loans by firms and households decreased
ECB’s monetary policy measures remain supportive of lending conditions and volumes
According to the April 2021 euro area bank lending survey (BLS), credit standards – i.e. banks’ internal guidelines or loan approval criteria – tightened moderately for loans or credit lines to enterprises (net percentage of banks standing at 7%, see Chart 1) in the first quarter of 2021. Credit standards eased slightly in net terms for loans to households for house purchase (net percentage of -2%) and tightened moderately further in net terms for consumer credit and other lending to households (net percentage of 5%). Banks referred mainly to risk perceptions related to

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ECB publishes the results of the public consultation on a digital euro

28 days ago

14 April 2021
Citizens and professionals alike value privacy most for possible future digital euro
Preference for a digital euro being integrated into existing banking and payment systems
Public consultation provides valuable input for Eurosystem’s decision in mid-2021 on starting formal investigation on digital euro
The European Central Bank (ECB) has published today a comprehensive analysis of its public consultation on a digital euro. The analysis confirms, by and large, our initial findings: what the public and professionals want the most from such a digital currency is privacy (43%), followed by security (18%), the ability to pay across the euro area (11%), no additional costs (9%) and offline usability (8%).
“A digital euro can only be successful if it meets the needs of

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Results of the March 2021 survey on credit terms and conditions in euro-denominated securities financing and over-the-counter derivatives markets (SESFOD)

28 days ago

14 April 2021
Credit terms and conditions slightly eased for all counterparty types except hedge funds, while hedge fund use of financial leverage increased
Maximum maturity of funding increased for many types of collateral, while haircuts and financing rates/spreads decreased for funding secured by all types of collateral
Demand for funding continued to weaken across all collateral types
Overall terms and conditions for securities financing and over-the-counter derivatives transactions broadly unchanged compared with previous year but some divergence among different counterparty types
Overall credit terms and conditions slightly eased over the December 2020 to February 2021 review period. Respondents reported an easing of overall credit terms for each individual counterparty

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Luis de Guindos: Presentation of the ECB Annual Report 2020 to the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European Parliament

28 days ago

Introductory remarks by Luis de Guindos, Vice-President of the ECB, at the ECON Committee of the European Parliament (by videoconference)
Frankfurt am Main, 14 April 2021
Madam Chair,
Honourable Members of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I welcome the opportunity to appear before this Committee to present the ECB’s Annual Report for 2020.[1] Today we will also publish the feedback on the calls and requests contained in your resolution on our previous Annual Report.[2]
This has been an exceptionally challenging year for all of us. The global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has triggered an unprecedented crisis, creating social, political, economic and financial challenges for Europe and the rest of the world.
Therefore, allow me to focus my

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Fabio Panetta: A digital euro to meet the expectations of Europeans

28 days ago

Introductory remarks by Fabio Panetta, Member of the Executive Board of the ECB, at the ECON Committee of the European Parliament
Frankfurt am Main, 14 April 2021
Madam Chair, honourable members of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs,
Let me start by thanking you for inviting me to report on the outcome of the ECB’s public consultation on a digital euro. We are publishing our analysis of the responses we received on our website today.[1]
A digital euro can only be successful if it meets the needs and expectations of European citizens.[2] This is why our consultation will provide valuable input for the Eurosystem’s decision – this summer – on whether we should start a digital euro project. The consultation will also inform future work on the design of a digital euro, if a

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Christine Lagarde: Interview with CNBC

April 12, 2021

Interview with Christine Lagarde, President of the ECB, conducted by Sara Eisen on 9 April 2021 and broadcast on the same day
12 April 2021
Europe is at an interesting point, because there’s a lot of optimism about a recovery, and yet Europe is still in the throes of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis – high cases, lockdowns. What is your level of concern at this point about the system and the economy as the President of the ECB?
Well, I think there is recovery – it is delayed, certainly, but it’s not derailed. It is delayed because Europe has been hit by the third wave of the virus. Not exactly the same one – the one that we call the English variant, which has hit most European countries hard. So we are still going through some lockdown measures. Not as severe as a year ago, but it is

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Fabio Panetta: Interview with El País

April 11, 2021

Interview with Fabio Panetta, Member of the Executive Board of the ECB, conducted by Luis Doncel and published on 11 April 2021
11 April 2021
The recovery in the euro area is still very fragile, and the vaccine rollout is progressing slowly. How is this slow progress affecting the economy?
Uncertainty has receded to some extent, but is still high. The vaccine rollout is accelerating but remains slow. And in a number of countries the pandemic is spreading fast, which is weighing on the economic outlook. While the US economy will return to its pre-crisis levels this year, we will not do so before mid-2022. And, unlike the United States, we will not return to our pre-crisis growth path, meaning that we may have permanently lost two years of growth. Inflation is projected to remain well

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Isabel Schnabel: Interview with Der Spiegel

April 9, 2021

Interview with Isabel Schnabel, Member of the Executive Board of the ECB, conducted by Tim Bartz and Stefan Kaiser on 1 April and published on 9 April 2021, in print on 10 April 2021
9 April 2021
Ms Schnabel, the global economy is only slowly recovering from one of the most severe economic crises in living memory, but the mood on stock markets is better than ever. Do you find that a cause for concern?
We are closely monitoring this. Developments in Europe have not been extreme up to now, but there are signs of excesses here too, for example in the real estate market. In the United States, the cyclically adjusted price/earnings ratio is now higher than it was before the financial crisis of 2008.
Have equity and real estate prices reached such heights again that they are bound to

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Meeting of 10-11 March 2021

April 8, 2021

Account of the monetary policy meeting of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank held in Frankfurt am Main on Wednesday and Thursday, 10-11 March 2021
1. Review of financial, economic and monetary developments and policy options
Financial market developments
Ms Schnabel reviewed the financial market developments since the Governing Council’s previous monetary policy meeting on 20-21 January 2021.
Sovereign yield curves across advanced economies had steepened, while new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases had fallen, the pace of vaccination had accelerated and a large fiscal stimulus programme in the United States was expected to be soon put into law. The measurable rise in commodity prices had added to upward pressure on long-term nominal bond yields. The increase in long-term

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Christine Lagarde: IMFC Statement

April 8, 2021

Statement by Christine Lagarde, President of the ECB, at the forty-third meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee
Virtual IMF Spring Meetings, 8 April 2021
Since the previous IMFC meeting in October 2020, global prospects have improved thanks to the progress made in vaccination campaigns and the forceful policy support provided to our economies. However, this brighter outlook remains subject to considerable uncertainty, also regarding the path of the pandemic and the rollout of vaccinations. We must therefore continue to stand together to address this severe global challenge. In this environment, it is crucial to refrain from withdrawing policy support prematurely, either on the monetary or fiscal side. At the same time, it is essential to push ahead with

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