FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – European Central Bank head Mario Draghi on Thursday issued a darker outlook for the region’s economy and said the bank is ready to use all its monetary levers in case the slowdown takes a turn for the worse.
Draghi said after Thursday’s policy meeting that risks to the 19 countries that use the euro had “moved to the downside,” dropping language from December’s meeting that risks were “broadly balanced between better and worse outcomes”.
He said that the bank was ready “to adjust all of its instruments” in case of unexpected trouble.
The slightly more pessimistic view fed suspicions among analysts that the central bank might wait longer before raising interest rates increase from the current record lows. Rather than late this year, the first hike could come in 2020, some say.
“At this point in time, we’re just assessing the situation,” he said after a meeting of the bank’s 25-member rate-setting council left interest rates unchanged.
He said the meeting was devoted to assessing “where we are, why are we here, and how long will the slowdown last.”
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