The European Central Bank announced on Thursday that it will publish the minutes of its monetary policy meeting, starting next month, although it opted not to reveal the votes of individual members of the rate-setting body.
In a statement, the ECB said that it will publish regular accounts of Governing Council monetary policy discussions, starting with the meeting on January 22, 2015. The accounts will be released four weeks after each meeting, the central bank said.
Earlier this year, the central bank announced that it is considering the publication of its meeting minutes, a practice already followed by its peers. The ECB had also announced that it will shift to a six-week cycle for policy meetings from January 2015 from the tradition of holding monthly sessions.
The Governing Council consists of six members of the ECB’s Executive Board and the national central bank governors of the 19 euro area countries, including Lithuania that joins the group on January 1.
The publication of the proceedings of the policy meetings becomes crucial as policymakers are widely expected to be in preparation to discuss a full-blown quantitative easing scheme that could include buying government bonds, as early as January.
“The accounts will contain an overview of financial market, economic and monetary developments,” the ECB said.
“This will be followed by a summary of the discussion, in an unattributed form, on the economic and monetary analyses and on the monetary policy stance. The accounts will offer a fair and balanced reflection of policy deliberations,” the ECB said.
By choosing to remain silent on the voting pattern within the policy-making body, the bank risks attracting criticism of lack of transparency being leveled against it. That said, the Governing Council takes most decisions by consensus rather than votes.
However, since the ECB sets the policy for a group of countries, the move would serve to shield individual policymakers from possible political pressure, thereby safeguarding the sanctity of central bank independence.
Currently, ECB President Mario Draghi reveals during his remarks in the post-decision press conference whether the latest policy decision was unanimous or not, and drops hints regarding the general sentiment that prevailed during the discussion.
“The aim is to provide the rationale behind monetary policy decisions and enable members of the public to improve their understanding of the Governing Council’s assessment of the economy and its policy responses in the light of evolving conditions,” the ECB said.
Further, the bank also announced that it will replace its monthly bulletin with a new one to be published two weeks after each meeting.
The material has been provided by InstaForex Company – www.instaforex.com