The European Central Bank (ECB) is leaving the key interest rate unchanged.

While it has now stopped buying new bonds from the PEPP crisis program, new bonds are to be bought from the older APP bond purchase program until the summer, provided nothing unforeseen happens.

Christian Siedenbiedel

Editor in Business.

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"Some time" after the end of the bond purchases, however, interest rates are to be raised.

The Governing Council announced this on Thursday after its April meeting.

ECB President Christine Lagarde wants to explain the details at a press conference.

The statement reads: "At today's meeting the Governing Council considered that the data received since its last meeting reinforces its expectation that net asset purchases under its asset purchase program should be completed in the third quarter ." Looking ahead, the ECB's monetary policy will depend on incoming data and the Governing Council's evolving assessment of the outlook: "Under the current conditions of high uncertainty, the Governing Council will consider optionality in conducting monetary policy , gradualism and flexibility.

The Governing Council will take all measures necessary to fulfill the ECB's mandate to maintain price stability and help safeguard financial stability."

Jörg Krämer, the chief economist at Commerzbank, commented: "Unfortunately, despite an inflation rate of 7.5 percent, the ECB has not decided today to end its net bond purchases and negative interest rates earlier." This waiting is risky: "The longer the ECB is at its very loose monetary policy, the more people’s inflation expectations rise and the very high inflation becomes permanent.”

The public pressure on the ECB is great

Unlike America's Federal Reserve (Fed), which has raised its key interest rate by 0.25 percentage points, the ECB is leaving its main refinancing rate at 0 percent despite all the pressure from politics, the banking industry and the public and is also maintaining negative interest rates for banks.

However, she holds out the prospect of a change and normalization of monetary policy.

Economics professor Lars Feld had suggested that the central bank could now announce an end to negative interest rates for September.

Deutsche Bank boss Christian Sewing had said he was expecting an interest rate hike “in the third quarter, or at the latest in the fourth quarter”.

Record inflation and at the same time a lot of uncertainty

Inflation in the euro area has climbed to exceptionally high levels - and has not proved to be as transitory as central bank experts had initially forecast.

"Inflation rates are indeed higher than expected, and they will last longer than originally thought," said ECB chief economist Philip Lane of the FAZ monetary union.

Not only heating oil and petrol have become extraordinarily expensive, food prices have also risen sharply.

In Germany, for example, butter has recently increased in price by 17.6 percent, bread by 7.1 percent and vegetable oil by 30 percent.

Also the so-called core rate of inflation, that is the rise in prices without strongly fluctuating prices such as those for energy and food,

which monetary policy pays more attention to, has reached 3 percent in the euro area.

The ECB is aiming for an inflation rate of 2 percent in the medium term.