LATEST NEWS
 Top Stories
 U.S.
  Severe Weather
  Bird Flu
 World
  Castro
  Mideast Crisis
  Iraq
 Business
 Personal Finance
 Technology
 Sports
  Sports Columns
  NASCAR
  Baseball
  College Hoops
  NBA
  NHL
  Tennis
  Golf
 Entertainment
 Health
 Science
 Politics
 Washington
 Offbeat
 Podcasts
 Blogs
 Weather
 Raw News
 NEWS SEARCH
 
 Archive Search
 SPECIAL SECTIONS
 Multimedia Gallery
 AP Video Network
 Today
 in History
 Corrections
Feb 22, 9:13 AM EST

European Central Bank hints at revising stimulus outlook

AP Photo
AP Photo/Paul White

Multimedia
A district summary of the Beige Book
Measuring economic stress by county nationwide
Mall malaise: shoppers browse, but don't buy
Unemployment by the numbers
Family struggles with father's unemployment
Saying an affordable goodbye
Hard times hit small car dealer
Latest Economic News
Italian campaign promises gloss over grim economic realities

Germany books record surplus as economy keeps growing

The Brexit effect: UK economy grows at 5-year low in 2017

European Central Bank hints at revising stimulus outlook

German business confidence drops amid global, local concerns

White House says US could reach 3 percent growth rate

Bank of England's Carney predicts UK living standards boost

Eurozone economy cools amid stock market turmoil

Greece: Fitch upgrades country's sovereign rating

US inflation pressures raising expectations for rate hikes

Interactives
Greece's Debt Threatens to Spread
State budget
gaps map
Auto industry problems trickle down, punish Tennessee county
Women give old Derby hats a makeover in tough economy
S.C. town deals with highest unemployment in South
How mortgages were bundled and sold as securities
Tracking the $700 billion financial bailout
Tracking the year's job losses
State-by-state foreclosures since 2007
Credit crisis explained
Presidents and their economic legacies
Lexicon of the financial crisis
Americans' addiction to debt

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- The European Central Bank could indicate as soon as March that it is mulling an earlier end to its stimulus program, minutes to the bank's last policy meeting suggested Thursday.

According to the minutes to the Jan. 25 meeting, the ECB rate-setters said the "language pertaining to the monetary policy could be revisited early this year."

That suggests that the 25-member governing council, which sets interest rates for the 19 countries that use the euro as currency, could indicate that the stimulus may come to an end sooner than they have so far indicated. Their next scheduled policy announcement is on March 8.

As well as slashing interest rates, including its main one to zero, the bank is purchasing 30 billion euros ($37 billion) worth of bonds a month in financial markets to keep a lid on borrowing costs. Those purchases are due to run until the end of September "or beyond, if necessary" dependent on inflation getting back toward the bank's aim.

Despite a rebounding eurozone economy, consumer price inflation remains below the goal of just below 2 percent. In the year to January, inflation was running at only 1.3 percent.

According to the minutes, "some members expressed a preference for dropping the easing bias" at the January meeting as a "tangible reflection of reinforced confidence in a sustained adjustment of the path of inflation."

However, "it was concluded that such an adjustment was premature and not yet justified by the stronger confidence."

The euro rose modestly after the publication of the minutes, trading 0.2 percent higher at $1.2310.

Carsten Brzeski, an economist at ING, thinks the majority of the ECB's policymaking panel "still opposes an abrupt end" to the stimulus in September and will opt to tread carefully in the months ahead.

"As soon as the ECB would put an end date on its QE program, speculations about the timing of the first rate hike will start to heat up, leading to a further tightening of monetary and financial conditions in the eurozone," he said.

© 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.