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ECB's Makhlouf: higher September hike could be more or less than 50 points

·1-min read

DUBLIN (Reuters) - European Central Bank policymaker Gabriel Makhlouf said that if the bank needs to increase interest rates by more than 25 basis points in September, it may be more or less than 50.

The ECB said last week it would end quantitative easing on July 1 then raise rates by 25 basis points on July 21. It plans to hike again on Sept. 8 and go for a bigger move, unless the inflation outlook improves in the meantime.

"I know some people have taken the language that it could be more, that it means it's going to be 50 basis points, but just for the avoidance of doubt, more means more than 25 (basis points)," Makhlouf told a news conference on Wednesday.

"It could be 26 or it could be 51 or whatever," he said.

When asked what kind of an interest rate increase in September he currently favoured, he added that the ECB would see what the economic conditions are like at that point

Makhlouf, who is head of the Irish central bank, also described a rare, unscheduled meeting of ECB policymakers on Wednesday in which they decided to devise a new tool to help indebted euro zone members as "a very good discussion."

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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