ECB leaves key rates unchanged, no change to PEPP size of €750 billion
ECB announces their latest monetary policy decision - 30 April 2020
- Deposit facility rate -0.50%
- Main refinancing rate 0.00%
- Marginal lending facility 0.25%
- QE purchases to continue at monthly pace of €20 billion, together with purchases under additional €120 billion temporary envelope
- Fully prepared to increase size of PEPP and adjust its composition, by as much as necessary and for as long as needed
- Will conduct asset purchases under PEPP until it judges that coronavirus crisis phase is over, but in any case until the end of the year
- Expects interest rates to remain at present or lower levels until it has seen inflation outlook robustly converge to a level sufficiently close to, but below 2%
- Announces new series of pandemic LTROs i.e. refinancing operations for banks
- TLTRO conditions further eased
Besides the launch of a new series of refinancing operations and easing existing TLTRO measures, this is the ECB standing pat and the initial reception by the market is not too favourable as bank stocks fall alongside periphery bonds i.e. yields rise.
The euro is less fazed though, as EUR/USD hugs the 1.0870-80 levels still as the market digests the statement and we wait on ECB president Lagarde's press conference later.
The key takeaway for me is that they didn't change the PEPP size or scope but reaffirmed that they will be willing to do if necessary moving forward.
Do be reminded that the programme - at its current pace - will meet its target by around October so they will have to follow up on that sooner rather than later to not keep investors guessing over the coming months.
It is now over to Lagarde to try and pacify the market, so let's see what she will deliver.
The full statement by the ECB:
At today's meeting the Governing Council of the ECB took the following monetary policy decisions:
(1) The conditions on the targeted longer-term refinancing operations (TLTRO III) have been further eased. Specifically, the Governing Council decided to reduce the interest rate on TLTRO III operations during the period from June 2020 to June 2021 to 50 basis points below the average interest rate on the Eurosystem's main refinancing operations prevailing over the same period. Moreover, for counterparties whose eligible net lending reaches the lending performance threshold, the interest rate over the period from June 2020 to June 2021 will now be 50 basis points below the average deposit facility rate prevailing over the same period.
(2) A new series of non-targeted pandemic emergency longer-term refinancing operations (PELTROs) will be conducted to support liquidity conditions in the euro area financial system and contribute to preserving the smooth functioning of money markets by providing an effective liquidity backstop. The PELTROs consist of seven additional refinancing operations commencing in May 2020 and maturing in a staggered sequence between July and September 2021 in line with the duration of the collateral easing measures. They will be carried out as fixed rate tender procedures with full allotment, with an interest rate that is 25 basis points below the average rate on the main refinancing operations prevailing over the life of each PELTRO.
(3) Since the end of March, purchases have been conducted under the Governing Council's new pandemic emergency purchase programme (PEPP), which has an overall envelope of €750 billion, to ease the overall monetary policy stance and to counter the severe risks to the monetary policy transmission mechanism and the outlook for the euro area posed by the coronavirus pandemic. These purchases will continue to be conducted in a flexible manner over time, across asset classes and among jurisdictions. The Governing Council will conduct net asset purchases under the PEPP until it judges that the coronavirus crisis phase is over, but in any case until the end of this year.
(4) Moreover, net purchases under the asset purchase programme (APP) will continue at a monthly pace of €20 billion, together with the purchases under the additional €120 billion temporary envelope until the end of the year. The Governing Council continues to expect monthly net asset purchases under the APP to run for as long as necessary to reinforce the accommodative impact of its policy rates, and to end shortly before it starts raising the key ECB interest rates.
(5) Reinvestments of the principal payments from maturing securities purchased under the APP will continue, in full, for an extended period of time past the date when the Governing Council starts raising the key ECB interest rates, and in any case for as long as necessary to maintain favourable liquidity conditions and an ample degree of monetary accommodation.
(6) 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 is fully prepared to increase the size of the PEPP and adjust its composition, by as much as necessary and for as long as needed. In any case, it stands ready to adjust all of its instruments, as appropriate, to ensure that inflation moves towards its aim in a sustained manner, in line with its commitment to symmetry.
Further details on the amendments made to the terms of TLTRO III and on the new PELTROs will be published in dedicated press releases this afternoon at 15:30 CET.
The President of the ECB will comment on the considerations underlying these decisions at a press conference starting at 14:30 CET today.