ECB ready to do more to help economy

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European Central Bank members are all prepared to take more policy action if necessary and the bank’s staff will prepare the groundwork in case, President Mario Draghi said yesterday.

The ECB kept interest rates at a record low 0.05 per cent at its monthly meeting, waiting to see how stimulus measures laid out in recent months unfold.

Draghi said risks to the eurozone’s recovery remained skewed to the downside and said: “The Governing Council is unanimous in its commitment to using additional unconventional instruments within its mandate.

“The Governing Council has tasked ECB staff and the relevant Eurosystem (central bank) committees with ensuring the timely preparation of further measures to be implemented if needed,” he said.

After the US Federal Reserve ended its bond-buying programme while the Bank of Japan increased its pace of money creation, markets are trying to judge how close the ECB is to launching more aggressive steps, such as quantitative easing.

There has been mounting discomfort over Draghi’s leadership style.

It was reported on Tuesday national central bankers in the euro area planned to challenge Draghi over his communication style and in particular his mention of a balance sheet target for how much money the ECB planned to pump into the economy.