The incoming information that has become available since the Governing Council's decision to end net asset purchases in December 2018 has continued to be weaker than expected on account of softer external demand and some country and sector-specific factors. In particular, the persistence of uncertainties relating to geopolitical factors and the threat of protectionism is weighing on economic sentiment.
At the same time, supportive financing conditions, favourable labour market dynamics and rising wage growth continue to underpin the euro area expansion and gradually rising inflation pressures. This underlying strength of the economy supports the Governing Council's confidence in the continued sustained convergence of inflation to levels that are below, but close to, 2% over the medium term.
Nevertheless, significant monetary policy stimulus remains essential to support the further build-up of domestic price pressures and headline inflation developments over the medium term. This will be provided by the Governing Council’s forward guidance on the key ECB interest rates, reinforced by the reinvestments of the sizeable stock of acquired assets. The Governing Council confirmed that it stands ready to adjust all of its instruments, as appropriate, to ensure that inflation continues to move towards the Governing Council's inflation aim in a sustained manner.