(Bloomberg) -- The European Central Bank’s pledge to keep borrowing costs at an elevated level for an extended period doesn’t rule out more interest-rate hikes, according to the official representing the Bank of Finland on the Governing Council.
“Based on our current assessment, we in the ECB Governing Council consider that the key policy rates have reached levels that, maintained for a sufficiently long duration, will make a substantial contribution to the timely return of inflation to our target,” said Tuomas Valimaki, who stands in for Governor Olli Rehn during his campaign to run for Finland’s president.
“But taking into account the risks surrounding the inflation path, this does not necessarily mean there will be no more interest rate increases,” Valimaki said in a statement on Tuesday. “Because inflation is staying above the target for this long, any additional delay in achieving the target cannot be considered acceptable.”
The Finnish official’s comments run contrary to other Governing Council members, such as Vice President Luis de Guindos, who on Monday said rates at their current 4% level will help bring euro-area inflation to the 2% target. After 10 consecutive hikes in borrowing costs, markets and economists now believe that the ECB is at peak rates.
Still, future decisions on rates will depend on data, Valimaki said.
“We will assess the inflation outlook also in the light of the dynamics of underlying inflation and the strength of monetary policy transmission,” he said.
--With assistance from Ott Ummelas.
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