FRANKFURT, Nov 22 ― European Central Bank (ECB) chief Christine Lagarde said yesterday it was not time to “start declaring victory” in the fight against inflation, warning that policymakers could act again if needed.

The ECB held its key interest rates steady at its last meeting in October, after 10 straight increases aimed at bringing runaway consumer price rises under control.

Inflation in the 20 countries that use the euro slowed to 2.9 per cent in October, not far off the ECB's two-per cent target, while the eurozone's economic outlook is darkening.

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Speaking at an event in Berlin, Lagarde acknowledged that inflation has “gone down significantly”.

But the ECB president described the central bank as “attentive”, and it expected inflation to tick up again in coming months.

“It is not time yet to start declaring victory,” she said.

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“We can act again if we see rising risks of missing our inflation target.”

She reiterated that rates were at levels that “maintained for a sufficiently long duration, will make a substantial contribution to returning inflation to our medium-term target in a timely manner.”

However, “the journey is not over, and we still have to complete that journey,” she said. ― AFP