FRANKFURT: The European Central Bank (ECB) is ready to act to stimulate the eurozone economy and push up inflation in the single currency area, President Mario Draghi said on Monday.
“The ECB is ready to do its part,” Draghi told the European Parliament in Brussels in a hearing broadcast live online.
“We will not hesitate to act,” he added.
Following its last monetary policy meeting in January, the ECB’s decision-making governing council had promised “to review and possibly reconsider the monetary policy stance in early March,” Draghi said, reiterating comments he has made repeatedly since last month.
In January, the ECB chief had sought to assuage financial market disappointment at the perceived timidity of policy moves a month earlier by pledging to revisit the level of euro area interest rates and other stimulus measures at the next meeting on March 10.
Area-wide inflation picked up only modestly to 0.4 percent in January from 0.2 percent in December, a long way off the level of 2.0 percent that the ECB estimates is conducive to healthy economic growth.
Falling oil prices and slowing economic growth in China and other emerging economies are weighing on the headline rate of inflation.
Draghi told the European Parliament’s committee for economic and monetary affairs that the ECB would “examine the strength of the pass-through” of such factors on domestic wage and price formation and on inflation expectations.
The central bank would also analyze the effects of the recent financial turmoil on the transmission of the ECB’s monetary policy, he said.
“If either of these two factors entail downward risks to price stability, we will not hesitate to act,” Draghi said.