FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The European Central Bank revamped its interest rate guidance on Thursday and asked its staff to prepare options for more policy easing, explicitly opening the door to a rate cut as well as more bond buys as soon as September.
“The Governing Council has tasked the relevant Eurosystem Committees with examining options, including ways to reinforce its forward guidance on policy rates, mitigating measures, such as the design of a tiered system for reserve remuneration, and options for the size and composition of potential new net asset purchases,” the ECB said in a statement.
The ECB said it now expects its key rates to stay at present or lower levels at least through the first half of 2020, giving up a previous pledge to keep rates at their current level through mid-2020.
Attention now turns to ECB President Mario Draghi’s 1230 GMT news conference.
(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Catherine Evans and Michelle Martin)