Estimating the European Central Bank's "Extended Period of Time"
On July 4, 2013 the ECB Governing Council provided more specific forward guidance than in the past by stating that it expects ECB interest rates to remain at present or lower levels for an extended period of time. As explained by ECB President Mario Draghi this expectation is based on the Council’s medium-term outlook for inflation conditional on economic activity and money and credit. Draghi also stressed that there is no precise deadline for this extended period of time, but that a reasonable period can be estimated by extracting a reaction function.
The authors use such a reaction function, namely the interest rate rule from Orphanides and Wieland (2013) that matches past ECB interest rate decisions quite well, to project the rate path consistent with inflation and growth forecasts from the survey of professional forecasters published by the ECB on August 8, 2013. This evaluation suggests an increase in ECB interest rates by May 2014 at the latest. The authors also use the Eurosystem staff projection from June 6, 2013 for comparison. While it would imply a longer period of low rates, it does not match past ECB decisions as well as the reaction function with SPF forecasts.