(Bloomberg) -- The European Central Bank has finished raising interest rates unless there are major surprises and may look at cuts at some point in 2024, Governing Council member Francois Villeroy de Galhau said.
“Our decisions to increase interest rates are fully playing their role as a remedy against the disease that is inflation,” Villeroy said in an interview with French newspaper La Depeche du Midi. “This is why, barring any shock, there will be no further increase in our rates — the question of a reduction may arise in 2024, but not now.”
The Bank of France Governor’s comments come as fellow policymakers push back against investor bets the ECB will ease policy as early as March. Earlier Wednesday, Peter Kazmir, the Slovak official at the ECB, said expecting a cut in the first quarter of 2024 is “science fiction,” while his Latvian colleague Martins Kazaks said such a move probably won’t be needed in the first six months.
While Villeroy wasn’t as explicit about how long the ECB would likely keep policy on hold, he said that the institution should be “patient” regarding the duration of tight settings. His comments — a few hours before policymakers go into silent period ahead of a rate-setting meeting next week — are a close reiteration of similar remarks last week.
Other comments from Villeroy in the newspaper interview:
- “We are well on our way in the fight against inflation even if we are not yet finished”
- “When a remedy is effective, you have to be a little patient with its duration”
- “I reiterate our confidence and our commitment that, barring any shock, we will bring inflation back toward 2% by 2025 at the latest”
- “Disinflation is faster than we thought for two reasons: the slowdown in energy prices (which has not been called into question by the conflict in the Middle East) and the deceleration of other prices (services and products manufactured) due to monetary policy”
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