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ECB asset purchase programme will be adjusted if outlook weakens

The European Central Bank (ECB) "will not hesitate to act" if the European Union's inflation outlook weakens further than expected, it has said. 25 Sep 2015

ECB president Mario Draghi told Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee MEPs, though, that it will take time to tell whether lower growth rates in emerging markets are temporary or permanent.

In the third 'monetary dialogue' meeting of the year, Draghi said economic indicators had shown signs of resilience over the summer, but that macroeconomic projections indicated a weaker economic recovery "and a slower increase in inflation rates than we had expected earlier this year".

"The inflation rate will remain close to zero in the very near term, before rising again towards the end of the year. It will take somewhat longer than previously anticipated for it to converge back to and stabilise around levels that we consider sufficiently close to 2%," Draghi said.

The main causes behind this are slowing growth in emerging economies, a stronger euro and lower oil and commodity prices, Draghi told the committee.

"For many of these changes, it is too early to judge with sufficient confidence whether they will cause lasting slippage from the trajectory that we initially expected inflation to follow when we decided to expand our asset purchase programme in January," he said.

It will take time to tell whether the loss of growth momentum is permanent and to assess the driving forces behind the drop in the international price of commodities and behind recent episodes of "severe financial turbulence", Draghi said.

"The asset purchase programme has sufficient in-built flexibility. We will adjust its size, composition and duration as appropriate, if more monetary policy impulse should become necessary," he said.