(Bloomberg) -- European Central Bank Governing Council member Peter Kazimir said September’s interest-rate increase may be the final one in this cycle, though he “can’t rule out the possibility” of others.
Officials must continue to evaluate inflation and economic-growth data over the coming months, the Slovak central bank chief said Monday in a statement. Only the ECB’s March forecasts can confirm that inflation is heading “unequivocally and steadily” toward the 2% goal, he said.
“If we’re at the top, it will be necessary to stay here for quite some time and spend the winter, spring and summer here,” Kazimir said. “It remains open and unanswered how long it will be necessary to stay with rates at peak levels.”
The remarks follow last week’s hike in the ECB’s deposit rate to 4% — a level economists and investors see as the high point in this unprecedented monetary-tightening campaign. Like Kazimir, other policymakers have also said as much — despite President Christine Lagarde insisting such calls are premature.
For Kazimir, the end of rate increases opens a debate about the ECB’s asset-purchase programs, though he wouldn’t “touch the control buttons” for the next six months.
“I see room for a debate about adjusting the pace of our quantitative tightening,” he said. “In other words, how quickly will we reduce our bond portfolio accumulated in recent years.”
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