The European Central Bank is monitoring the recent surge in government bond borrowing costs but will not try to control the yield curve, ECB chief economist Philip Lane told a Spanish newspaper on Friday.
Yields have soared, particularly over the past week, partly driven by rising U.S. Treasury yields. Verbal intervention by key ECB officials, including ECB chief Christine Lagarde, has failed to stem the rally.
“At this stage, an excessive tightening in yields would be inconsistent with fighting the pandemic shock to the inflation path,” Lane said in an interview with Expansión. “But at the same time, it is crystal clear that we are not engaged in yield curve control, in the sense that we want to keep a particular yield constant,” he added.
Ten-year Bund yields, a key benchmark for the 19-country euro zone, now yield -0.223%, up from around -0.60% at the start of the year.
Lane added that while inflation is indeed rebounding, the increase was not yet what the ECB was looking for after a decade of undershooting its target.
“What we’re seeing now is not a significant and persistent change in the path of inflation,” he said, arguing that price growth was still too low and required ECB stimulus. Lane predicted that the bloc would start rebounding from its pandemic-induced slump already in the second quarter and the impact of the current lockdowns would be less severe than a year ago.