FILE PHOTO: European Central Bank chief economist Philip Lane speaks during a lecture at the University of Cyprus in Nicosia, Cyprus April 5, 2023. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou/File Photo
MADRID (Reuters) – The number of interest rate cuts in the euro zone will depend on inflation data, though prices seem to be moving in the right direction, European Central Bank chief economist Philip Lane said on Tuesday.
The ECB has kept rates steady at a record high since September but slowing growth and easing price pressures are fuelling rate cut talk with investors expecting the first move in April or June.
“The trend is very good, we want it to continue and we have some time left. You could hear me and other members of the Governing Council saying that we think the next move is to cut interest rates, but the exact timing depends on the data,” Lane told Spanish state television broadcaster TVE in an interview.
Lane said that the institution’s objective was to bring inflation back to around 2% and that it was still closer to 3%.
“The number of rate cuts we make will depend on how much progress we make towards our target,” Lane said.
The ECB will next meet on March 7 when new economic projections are also presented, seen as a likely trigger for at least a discussion about rate cuts over the following months.
Consumer inflation in the 20 nations sharing the euro dipped to 2.8% in January from 2.9% in December.