ECB's Lagarde: Inflation Still Remains High

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Christine Lagarde, the President of the European Central Bank (ECB), emphasized that inflation in the Eurozone continues to be significantly high. Speaking at the ECB Forum in Sintra, Portugal, Lagarde acknowledged that while inflation is expected to persist at elevated levels, there are indications of a changing nature of the inflation challenge in the region.

Lagarde highlighted that initial factors that drove inflation upwards, such as diminishing shocks and the transmission of monetary policy actions to the economy, resulted in a decline in inflation. However, the persistence of these shocks has slowed down the pace of inflation reduction, leading to a more protracted process.

In order to prevent the spiral effect caused by the unraveling of inflation expectations, policymakers need to address this dynamic with determination, Lagarde emphasized.

The ECB President underscored the importance of not hesitating in the fight against inflation and noted that the central bank is not yet in a position to declare victory. Lagarde confirmed that interest rates will continue to rise in July, signaling the ECB's commitment to tackling inflationary pressures.

While headline inflation for the Eurozone decreased from 7% in April to 6.1% in May, it remains significantly above the ECB's target of 2%. The increase in inflation rates was primarily driven by higher energy costs resulting from Russia's invasion of Ukraine. However, in recent months, the most substantial price increases have been observed in food products.

Lagarde recognized the progress made in addressing inflation concerns but emphasized the need to remain steadfast in the face of persistent inflation. She stressed the importance of clear communication from the central bank to avoid premature expectations of a policy reversal and to allow the full impact of previous actions to materialize.

The ECB has already implemented rate hikes totaling 400 basis points since July 2022. Market participants have factored in another rate increase next month and are considering the possibility of a further adjustment in September.

Concerns have been raised by economists regarding the potential need for the ECB to reverse its tightening policy, as higher interest rates could significantly slow down the economy. However, Lagarde stated that it is too early to make such considerations and emphasized that policy decisions should be made on a meeting-by-meeting basis, taking into account the available data.

In other news, a recent study reveals that Americans anticipate needing nearly $1.3 million for a comfortable retirement. Additionally, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai delivered a keynote address at the Google I/O developers conference, and Google executives acknowledged user dissatisfaction with the search experience following Reddit blackouts. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with top security officials, denouncing rebels as criminals, while Ukrainian President Zelenskyy applauded military advances on multiple fronts.

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