Monetary policy will remain accommodative, irrespective of a trade war, says ECB's Coeure

  • Monetary policy in the euro zone will remain accommodative for some time as inflation struggles to pick up, a member of the European Central Bank told CNBC Friday morning.
  • "I think there's a very broad agreement in the Governing Council of the ECB that a high degree of monetary accommodation will remain needed," ECB's Executive Board Member Benoit Coeure told CNBC's Steve Sedgwick at the sidelines of the European House Ambrosetti Forum.
  • "That's because the economy, and in particular the inflation in the euro zone, is not yet where we want to see it," Coeure explained.

Monetary policy in the euro zone will remain accommodative for some time as inflation struggles to pick up, a member of the European Central Bank told CNBC Friday morning.

Though the central bank has recently taken a step towards policy normalization, the ECB will continue tracking data before dramatically changing its monetary policy.

"I think there's a very broad agreement in the Governing Council of the ECB that a high degree of monetary accommodation will remain needed and that's irrespective of a trade war, of anything we've seen recently," ECB's Executive Board Member Benoit Coeure told CNBC's Steve Sedgwick at the sidelines of the European House Ambrosetti Forum.

"That's because the economy, and in particular the inflation in the euro zone, is not yet where we want to see it," Coeure explained. "We're very much data driven, we look at facts," he said.

According to the latest forecasts, the ECB expects core inflation to be 1.1 percent this year and 1.5 percent in 2019. The bank's medium-term target is 2 percent.

Benoit Coeure
Jason Alden | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Benoit Coeure

ECB drops 'easing bias'

In early March, the central bank dropped its so-called "easing bias" — the indication that it could increase bond purchases in both duration and size, in case the economic outlook deteriorated. The decision gave more confidence to the markets that the bank is slowly putting an end to its massive stimulus in the region, which has tried to revamp the economy in the wake of the sovereign debt crisis of 2011.

ECB President Mario Draghi said at the time that the change in the communication was due to a broad-based growth momentum in the euro area. The ECB expects real GDP (gross domestic product) to hit 2.4 percent in 2018 and 1.9 percent in 2019.

Nonetheless, the central bank did not announce changes to its stimulus program. For now, quantitative easing will continue at the pace of 30 billion euros ($36.72 billion) per month until September.

Speaking to CNBC last month, Erkki Liikanen, member of the central bank's Governing Council, admitted that the stimulus program could be extended given higher political risks.

However, Coeure sounded more confident about the future of the euro zone economy.

"Monetary accommodation will remain needed, but we will see a change in our mix of instruments. And in particular as we come closer to our medium-term inflation objective ... I would expect the role of rate guidance to be strengthened," Coeure added.

ECB policymakers said in January that there could be changes to its monetary policy stance in "early" 2018.