European Central Bank holds rates, and warns markets not to expect a hike before 2020

Mario DraghiREUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

  • The European Central Bank on Thursday said it will not raise interest rates in the eurozone before 2020, confirming what many in the markets had already expected.
  • "The Governing Council now expects the key ECB interest rates to remain at their present levels at least through the end of 2019," the central bank said in a statement released alongside its latest monetary policy decisions.
  • The central bank also announced the creation of a fresh series of so-called targeted longer-term refinancing operations, better known as TLTROs.

The European Central Bank on Thursday said it will not raise interest rates in the eurozone before 2020, confirming what many in the markets had already expected.

"The Governing Council now expects the key ECB interest rates to remain at their present levels at least through the end of 2019," the central bank said in a statement released alongside its latest monetary policy decisions.

It left all of its base interest rates unchanged, meaning a base deposit rate of -0.4%, and a refinancing rate of 0%.

Alongside the decision, the central bank also announced the creation of a fresh series of so-called targeted longer-term refinancing operations, better known as TLTROs.

"These new operations will help to preserve favourable bank lending conditions and the smooth transmission of monetary policy," the ECB said.

TLTROs effectively encourage lenders to lend money to the real economy by providing them the option to get cash back from the ECB rather than pay interest on it as they would normally have to. Banks are paid back at the ECB's -0.4% deposit rate.

ECB President Mario Draghi will speak to reporters at 2.30 p.m. CET (8:30 a.m. ET) to discuss the central bank's latest decisions.

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