Draghi hints at publishing euro bank’s minutes

EUROPEAN Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi hinted yesterday that the Eurozone’s interest rate setters could start to publish minutes of their policy meetings, following the standard practice of other major central banks.

Speaking in the Netherlands, Draghi said: “The publication of a richer account of our monetary policy deliberations represents a logical next step in the ECB’s evolving communications.”

The institution currently releases no record of its discussions until 30 years after the event, unlike the Bank of England. The US Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan publish much more detailed transcripts of the meetings after a period of years.

He added: “A written account of our policy deliberations would provide a more detailed explanation of the reasoning behind the governing council’s decisions, and give a sense of the discussion and the main arguments,” saying that this would give the public and European financial markets a better understanding of the way the central bank will react to economic conditions.

The ECB president also added further suggestions that the Eurozone may see a full-blown policy of quantitative easing (QE) in the future, saying that “a worsening of the medium-term outlook for inflation” would “warrant a more broad-based asset purchase programme”.

Previously, ECB board members have expressed opposition to QE, but several have indicated in speeches that extremely low inflation could prompt a change in policy.

However, Draghi continued to insist that policymakers did not envisage “broad-based deflation” in the euro area. The most recent figures showed consumer price inflation running at just 0.5 per cent in March, well below the bank’s target level. Currently, official forecasts suggest that inflation will only rise to 1.7 per cent by the very end of 2016.