European Central Bank to meet amid forecasts of slower growth

The Governing Council of the European Central Bank will have a monetary policy meeting in Frankfurt today. Interest rates are

european central bank january 2019

Photo: Getty

The Governing Council of the European Central Bank will have a monetary policy meeting in Frankfurt today. Interest rates are expected to remain steady.

Any policy changes will likely not come until the summer, which would be the first rate change since March 2016, when the main refinancing rate was set at 0% and the deposit facility rate (for banks’ overnight deposits) at -0.4%.

With estimates showing about 2% growth last year for the EU economy, which is expected to continue growing at 1.7% in 2019, the ECB has signaled that it is far enough removed from the 2009 onset of the European debt crisis to start hiking interest rates. However, that growth projection may prove shaky in the face of multiple economic problem areas—including Italy’s large debt and the spectre of trade threats, like a no-deal Brexit.

While there will likely be no rate change today, look to the post-meeting press conference for signs of when it could come. If the council is pessimistic about the prospects for growth, they may further delay the rate hikes.

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