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Accounts of ECB’s January 24-25 meeting showed that reveal a cautious stance among its members towards the idea of interest rate cuts. Officials reached a “broad consensus” on the notion that discussing rate cuts at this juncture was “premature” with many members emphasizing “risk management considerations” as a foundation for this perspective. The “risk of cutting policy rates too early was still seen as outweighing that of cutting rates too late”, the minuted noted.

Members also emphasized the “high reputational costs” that could arise from having to reverse policy direction should economic conditions improve unexpectedly, wage growth pick up pace, or if new inflationary pressures were to surface. Such a scenario, they argued, could undermine the credibility of ECB’s policy framework and its commitment to price stability.

Furthermore, the discussion acknowledged that while financial markets have already begun to anticipate rate cuts in 2024, leading to a somewhat “loosening of both financial and financing conditions,” this anticipation could be deemed “premature.” There was a concern that acting on market expectations too soon could inadvertently “derail or delay” the efforts to steer inflation back to its target level in a timely manner.

Full ECB meeting accounts here.

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