European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said officials will raise interest rates again if they have to, but they’re also gauging the impact of prior moves still feeding through.
(Bloomberg) — European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said officials will raise interest rates again if they have to, but they’re also gauging the impact of prior moves still feeding through.
Speaking to Bloomberg Television’s Tom Keene during a panel discussion in the Moroccan city of Marrakech, she said that policymakers are judging “multiple moving parts” that will affect the outlook of economies in the euro zone and around the world, including how previous hikes in borrowing costs are taking effect.
“We are seeing tightening of financing conditions like it has never happened before,” Lagarde said. “We know that there is some more in the pipeline and how it is going to impact our economies.”
The comments by the ECB chief are among her last before a blackout period begins in advance of the institution’s Oct. 26 decision. She and colleagues have said they will use that meeting to take stock of tightening so far, and have signaled no intention of any move in rates then.
Lagarde has also refused to rule out another hike in borrowing costs if needed. In September, officials raised rates for a 10th consecutive time in a close-run outcome.
“As I’ve said before, our aim, our mission, is to return inflation to 2% medium term — and we will, and it is happening as we speak, and we will hang onto that, be steady long enough, and ready to do more if necessary,” she said on Friday.
Officials have pointed to the December decision — their last of 2023 — as a pivotal moment to assess their monetary policy stance, given that they will have new projections then on which to form a fuller judgment.
Aside from gauging the effect of prior tightening, policymakers are also working out how other “balls in the air” will land, including whether wages have now adjusted to inflation, Lagarde said.
Another is how fallout from prior shocks pans out, “from the disruption to the supply bottlenecks, to the immense volatility of energy prices, to the pent up demand against the restricted supply — and all of that happening in a very abrupt and sudden way,” she observed.
Lagarde spoke alongside three other senior women in finance at the International Monetary Fund’s annual meetings.
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