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Prospects For BoC Rate Hike

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By Luke Heighton
     FRANKFURT (MNI) - The current formulation of the ECB's forward guidance
remains "crucial" to preventing "premature expectations" of a hike to key
interest rates, Executive Board member Luis de Guindos said Monday.
     Here are key points from his speech in Madrid:
     --De Guindos said the date-based and state-contingent nature of the ECB's
forward guidance on policy rates "remains crucial". "The date-based element
ensures that our stimulus is not weakened by premature expectations of a rate
hike. The state-contingent element, in turn, ensures that the stance will
continue to evolve gradually and in a data-dependent manner." ECB guidance calls
for rates to remain at present levels at least through the summer of 2019, and
in any case for as long as necessary to ensure sustained convergence of
inflation on target levels.
     --Euro area data has been weaker than expected in recent months, De Guindos
said. Trade disappointed, with noticeable declines in net exports, leaving
economic growth weaker than expected. Near-term growth is likely to be weaker
than previously foreseen.
     --Idiosyncratic factors such as temporary issues in the automotive sector,
street protests and weather conditionsplayed a part in stifling growth. "While
there is uncertainty about the magnitude and persistence of these factors,
near-term growth in the euro area is likely to be weaker than previously
     --Global growth is showing signs of a maturing economic cycle, and while
global activity is still expanding, growth in important euro area trading
partners, such as China, has been moderating. This has fed through to lower euro
area exports. Geopolitical uncertainties, the threat of protectionism,
vulnerabilities in emerging markets and financial market volatility "have proven
to be more persistent than initially foreseen. In Europe in particular, the
state of play of the Brexit negotiations is adding to the uncertainty."
     --However, "sound factors of resilience are in place, with euro area
expansion "expected to continue, supported in particular by favourable financing
conditions, further gains in employment, rising wages and lower energy prices.
Rising wages should continue to underpin household income and private
consumption. Lower energy prices are supporting real incomes and should provide
an additional impetus to domestic demand. High levels of capacity utilisation
should continue to strengthen labour cost pressures."
     --Wage growth has become increasingly broad-based, and, in conjunction with
the ECB's monetary policy measures and ongoing economic expansion, is expected
to translate into higher underlying inflation over the medium term.
--MNI Frankfurt Bureau; +49-69-720-146; email:
--MNI London Bureau; +44 203 865 3829; email:
[TOPICS: M$E$$$,M$X$$$,MT$$$$,M$$EC$]
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