It is expected to proceed at a moderate but steady pace, supported by solid domestic demand and the effective pass-through of our monetary policy measures to the real economy.Consumers are benefiting from still relatively low oil prices and improved employment prospects.
Let me first say that the ECB takes note of today’s judgement of the Federal German Constitutional Court.The easing is especially felt by small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), which are heavily reliant on bank credit.In our recent Survey on the Access to Finance of Enterprises in the euro area, SMEs continued to report a further improvement in their access to credit and an increased willingness of banks to provide credit at lower interest rates.Overall, our measures have been instrumental in putting the recovery on a more solid footing and thereby securing the conditions for inflation to rise towards levels closer to 2% over a not-too-distant horizon.They have underpinned the revival in the consumption of durable goods which we have observed since 2014, and are finally showing through in a more robust pick-up in non-construction investment.
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We will closely monitor the evolution of the outlook for price stability.We stand ready to act by using all the instruments available within our mandate, if necessary, to achieve our objective.Then, at the request of this committee, I will discuss the investment outlook, outlining in particular why more action is needed to boost investment demand in the euro area. As regards economic developments, the recovery of the euro area economy gained momentum at the start of the year.TLTRO II will allow banks to secure long-term funding at very attractive conditions that can be as low as the deposit facility rate.
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This should further ease the borrowing costs of the private sector and provide an additional impulse to credit creation.
The growth rate of bank credit to euro area corporations turned positive in 2015.
At the same time, other sources of external finance – the net issuance of debt securities and shares by non-financial corporations – have benefited from more favourable capital market conditions, improving corporate profits and increasing retained earnings.
This judgement confirms the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union which concluded that the OMT programme is compatible with EU law and falls within our mandate.
In my remarks today, I will review the state of the euro area recovery and the recent monetary policy measures adopted by the ECB.