The short-form accounts of the ECB's September meeting contain few fresh policy insights. Council members were happy that June's decision to phase out QE asset purchases by year-end had been taken smoothly in the financial markets and saw recent economic developments as being broadly in line with expectations.
Members also noted that ample monetary policy accommodation remained in place in view of the sizeable stock of assets already on the central bank's balance sheet as well as the associated reinvestments and enhanced forward guidance on interest rates. Even so, it was thought important to stress that while risks surrounding the euro area growth outlook were still roughly balanced, risks relating to the threat of protectionism, vulnerabilities in emerging markets and financial market volatility had gained more prominence.
In the light of such uncertainties and only gradually rising underlying inflation, there was also general agreement that remaining patient, prudent and persistent with regard to monetary policy was still essential.
There is nothing new here. Financial markets may have been hoping for some clues as to how the ECB will handle the reinvestment of its maturing bond holdings after QE has been completed but that will have to wait for another time.