ECB hikes rates by 50bp and leaves the door open for another 50bp in March
As expected, ECB decided today to raise the three key ECB interest rates by 50 basis points. Accordingly, the interest rate on the main refinancing operations and the interest rates on the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility will be increased to 3.00%, 3.25% and 2.50% respectively, with effect from 8 February 2023.
Also, ECB quasi pre-announced another rate hike next month by 50bp as well, opening the door to either a pause or a slower rate hike pace beyond March.
Keeping interest rates at restrictive levels will over time reduce inflation by dampening demand and will also guard against the risk of a persistent upward shift in inflation expectations.
The Governing Council today also decided on the modalities for reducing the Eurosystem’s holdings of securities under the asset purchase programme (APP).
As communicated in December, from the beginning of March 2023, the asset purchase programme (APP) portfolio will decline at a measured and predictable pace, as the Eurosystem will not reinvest all of the principal payments from maturing securities.
The decline will amount to €15 billion per month on average until the end of June 2023 and its subsequent pace will be determined over time. The Governing Council will regularly reassess the pace of the APP portfolio reduction to ensure it remains consistent with the overall monetary policy strategy and stance, to preserve market functioning, and to maintain firm control over short-term money market conditions.
On the basis of the December decision, the Governing Council today decided on the detailed modalities for reducing the Eurosystem’s holdings of securities under APP through the partial reinvestment of the principal payments from maturing securities.
During the period of partial reinvestment, the Eurosystem will retain the existing smooth reinvestment approach. The monthly redemptions under the APP between March and June 2023 will exceed the decided average run-off pace of €15 billion per month.
Partial reinvestments in excess of €15 billion per month will ensure that the Eurosystem maintains a continuous market presence under the APP over this period.
The remaining reinvestment amounts will be allocated proportionally to the share of redemptions across each constituent programme of the APP, i.e. the public sector purchase programme (PSPP), the asset-backed securities purchase programme (ABSPP), the third covered bond purchase programme (CBPP3) and the corporate sector purchase programme (CSPP).
Under the PSPP, the allocation of the reinvestments across jurisdictions and over time will continue to follow current practice. Specifically, the remaining reinvestment amounts will be allocated proportionally to the share of redemptions of each jurisdiction and across national and supranational issuers. Reinvestments will be distributed over time to allow a regular and balanced market presence.