The European Central Bank (ECB) is set to continue its support of the economy by buying billions of euros in bonds next year.
“I’m confident that those net purchases will continue throughout next year. Beyond that, I don’t know,” the European Central Bank (ECB) Vice President Luis de Guindos said in an interview with Les Echos on Tuesday.
At its mid-December meeting, the ECB’s Governing Council will decide how to proceed with bond purchases.
According to previous plans, the 1.85 trillion euros ($2.1 trillion) Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program (PEPP), launched to mitigate the shock of the Coronavirus, is scheduled to end in March 2022.
“The President of the ECB has announced that net purchases (under the emergency programme) will end in March. But they could be resumed if necessary,” de Guindos added.
This comes at a time when the European Statistical Office (Eurostat) said that the annual rate of inflation in the euro area rose to an all-time high of 4.9 percent in November, driven largely by rising energy prices.
It is noteworthy that this is the fastest increase on an annual basis since 1997, when records began to be recorded in the single currency area, which includes 19 countries.
EU leaders are scheduled to discuss the energy issue at a European summit next month.
Eurostat, based in Luxembourg, said in preliminary estimates that energy prices rose 27.4 percent in the euro area, in November, on an annual basis.
In October, prices rose 4.1 percent year on year. The last time the rate exceeded 4 percent was in 2008.
It is noteworthy that the inflation rate recorded in November is more than double the target by the ECB, which is 2 percent.
Preliminary data released by Statistics Portugal yesterday showed that consumer and core price inflation accelerated in November.
Consumer price inflation rose 2.6 percent on an annual basis, after rising 1.8 percent in October.
The core inflation rate, which excludes energy and fresh food prices, jumped to 1.8 percent from 1.1 percent.
Meanwhile, inflation in energy prices rose to 14.2 percent, compared to 13.4 percent.