Recent inflation data broadly confirmed current thinking at the European Central Bank, meaning interest rate cuts are not a near-term topic of debate, chief ECB economist Philip Lane said on Friday.
Euro zone inflation jumped as expected last month, rising to 2.9% from 2.4% in November and supporting the ECB’s case to keep interest rates at record highs for the time being.
The ECB sees inflation oscillating in the 2.5% to 3% range for much of this year and policymakers have said any talk of a rate cut before crucial first-quarter wage data due in May would be premature.
“That (the December inflation number) broadly confirms our assessment from the December meeting, our December projections. On that basis, and of course we’re going to be looking at the incoming data, this (interest rate cuts) is not a near term topic,” Lane told an event in Dublin.
“Once we have developed sufficient confidence that we’re firmly on the way to the 2% inflation target, then the rate cut topic will obviously come to the forefront. But right now, that is tentative conjecture, and we will need to see the incoming data before we move beyond that.”
Investors have priced in 150 basis points worth of cuts next year, with a first move in April fully priced in – a timeline several ECB policymakers have called excessive given lingering price pressures. .