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(MNI) Frankfurt

ECB policymakers are keeping a close watch on household and firm decision and wage behaviour as they assess whether euro area headline inflation will remain above-target into the medium-term, chief economist Philip Lane said in an interview published Tuesday, but he dismissed the chances of a 2022 rate hike as “unlikely.”

Lane was clear regarding the sequence for exiting extraordinary monetary policy, with net asset purchases stopping before the first interest rate increase, “and only well after the first increase in interest rates will the central bank think about shrinking its balance sheet.”

The European economy, and -- addressing the newspaper's audience -- Italy specifically, is expected to see solid growth this year, he said, although again saying that inflation is expected to not only "go back to the target but also to fall below the target".

MNI Frankfurt Bureau | +49-69-720-146 |
MNI Frankfurt Bureau | +49-69-720-146 |

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