"We decided to launch a new series of quarterly targeted longer-term refinancing operations (TLTRO-III), starting in September 2019 and ending in March 2021, each with a maturity of two years. These new operations will help to preserve favorable bank lending conditions and the smooth transmission of monetary policy," said Mario Draghi, President of ECB while presenting outcome to meeting at a news conference in Frankfurt, Germany.
The policymakers in its monetary policy meeting on Thursday kept key interest rates unchanged. "We now expect them (interest rates) to remain at their present levels at least through the end of 2019, and in any case for as long as necessary to ensure the continued sustained convergence of inflation to levels that are below, but close to, 2% over the medium term," said Draghi.
Draghi further hinted on downside risk to the economy on account of the persistence of uncertainties related to geopolitical factors, the threat of protectionism and vulnerabilities in emerging markets.
Further, compared with the December 2018 Eurosystem staff macroeconomic projections, the outlook for HICP inflation has been revised down across the projection horizon, reflecting, in particular, the more subdued near-term growth outlook, Draghi added. In the March 2019 ECB staff macroeconomic projections for the euro area forecast annual HICP inflation at 1.2% in 2019, 1.5% in 2020, and 1.6% in 2021.
Moreover, a package of assistance from new loans for banks to a longer pledge on record-low rates is intended to expand existing stimulus, Draghi added.