Mario Draghi has reaffirmed his commitment to quantitative easing at the latest ECB policy meeting, while detailing the central bank's latest inflation and growth outlook. David Pollard reports.
The good ship ECB sails on, a firm hand on the tiller. Draghi's message at the latest ECB meeting: steady as she goes. And if continuity is key here, it appears borne out by the latest data. Latest PMI readings on economic activity in the euro zone slid back slightly from April. But still some way above the 50 level that denotes growth. Hiring was its fastest in four months. SOUNDBITE (English) MARIO DRAGHI, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK, SAYING: ''Our monetary policy measures .... are working their way through to the economy and are contributing to economic growth, a reduction in economic slack, and money and credit expansion.'' Also given: the ECB's newest projections. After five months of falls, euro zone inflation rose higher than expected last month. That's echoed in the bank's upward revision for the year as a whole. Although growth: the projection there is virtually unchanged. SOUNDBITE (English) MARIO DRAGHI, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK, SAYING: ''Looking ahead, we expect the economic recovery to broaden. Domestic demand should be further supported by our monetary policy measures.'' This week's jobs data shows unemployment in Germany again at a record low in May - and improving in Spain. That and the improved inflation outlook - all down to Draghi's massive QE programme of bond-buying, according to his fans. Others say timing helped. Richard Hunter is Head of Equities at Hargreaves Lansdown. SOUNDBITE (English) RICHARD HUNTER, HEAD OF EQUITIES, HARGREAVES LANSDOWN, SAYING: ''A couple of the larger economies in Europe have started to show some signs of recovery. QE should push that along a little bit, but of course it will result probably in the ECB pointing to the fact that QE was certainly a helpful factor, despite the fact that some of these economies may well have been recovering on their own.'' Even so - and with rates still left at record lows - Draghi dismissed any notion of easing back on QE. The full programme of asset-buying to be followed through. Necessary, he says, to bring inflation back up to target. QE still at full steam ahead, for now at least.