Mario Draghi restates the ECB's commitment to monetary stimulus as he addresses the European Parliament in Brussels, the central bank president saying his policymakers would 'look through' short-term changes in inflation. David Pollard reports.
With over a month still to go before the next ECB policy meeting, Mario Draghi perhaps felt it was time for a few signals. The first, a well-rehearsed but - for the markets - welcome mantra. SOUNDBITE (English) MARIO DRAGHI, ECB PRESIDENT, SAYING: "Support from our monetary policy measures is still needed ...." Surges in short-term inflation, he added, wouldn't stand in their way. SOUNDBITE (English) MARIO DRAGHI, ECB PRESIDENT, SAYING: "We therefore continue to look through changes in HICP inflation if we believe they do not durably affect the medium-term outlook for price stability ... Looking ahead, risks to the euro area outlook remain tilted to the downside." But if talking up the ECB's massive QE stimulus programme was retreading familiar ground, the ECB chief also ventured into new. Taking on the question of whether Europe - or in particular Germany - was manipulating its currency downward in a bid to boost its exporters - as charges the new White House administration. Draghi choosing quotes - from a 2016 document - from none other than the US Treasury. SOUNDBITE (English) MARIO DRAGHI, ECB PRESIDENT, SAYING: "The European Central Bank has not intervened in the foreign currency markets since 2011 and did so then as part of a G7 concerted intervention to stabilise the yen following Japan's earthquake and tsunami, in cooperation with US authorities." One analyst though commenting on a difficult balancing act for Mr Draghi as for Europe: to maintain a relatively weak euro - while at the same time maintaining good trade relations with Washington.