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ECB tapering talk is ‘purely speculative’ – Villeroy

ECB tapering talk is 'purely speculative' - Villeroy

PARIS (Reuters) -Suggestions that the European Central Bank (ECB) could begin winding down exceptional bond purchases early are “purely speculative”, ECB policymaker Francois Villeroy de Galhau said on Tuesday.

Villeroy, who is also governor of the French central bank, pushed back against recent comments by more hawkish members of the ECB who have suggested it could decide to slow bond purchases soon.

Those comments have come even though the ECB has committed to maintain its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP) – aimed to help economies deal with the COVID-19 crisis – until at least March 2022.

“Any suggestion of a reduction in our purchases before then – what is sometimes called by the technical term tapering or phasing-out – is purely speculative,” Villeroy said on France Info television.

Villeroy said that even if the ECB was to ease back on PEPP, the ECB’s broader monetary policy would remain accommodative.

The ECB has bought around a trillion euros worth of debt since the start of the coronavirus crisis to keep borrowing costs low.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Leigh Thomas; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Ed Osmond)

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