European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde hinted Wednesday the Frankfurt-based institution could raise its interest rates from historic lows as soon as July as inflation in the eurozone soars.
The ECB should end its stimulus bond-buying scheme “early in the third quarter”, Lagarde said in a speech in Ljubljana, and could then raise interest rates “only a few weeks” later.
The comment is the clearest sign yet from Lagarde that the ECB is ready to move on rates soon rather later, as the institution trails behind the US Federal Reserve and other major central banks that have already taken the step to combat inflation.
ECB policymakers will next meet on June 9 and July 21 to decide their course of action.
Any hike would be the ECB's first in over a decade and would lift rates from their current historically low levels. These include a negative deposit rate which effectively charges banks to park their excess cash at the ECB overnight.
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