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ECB President Lagarde collected mobile phones at her interest rate meeting

ECB President Lagarde collected mobile phones at her interest rate meeting

According to informed sources, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde collected the mobile phones of monetary authorities at this week’s interest rate meeting in order to prevent important information from being leaked to the media. It also reprimanded monetary authorities because important data was disclosed before the next interest rate decision, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters news agency.

Under Lagarde’s predecessor, Mario Draghi, information from the euro’s department of oversight bodies was repeatedly leaked. The European Central Bank declined to comment.

According to insiders, the ECB’s 26-member Governing Council were asked to hand over their mobile phones on Wednesday, the first day of the interest rate meeting. At the time, monetary authorities were on the verge of nominating the Vice-President of the Bundesbank, Claudia Buch, to the vacant top position on the ECB’s banking supervisory body. The mobile phones were not returned until after the European Central Bank announced Buch’s nomination. Five years ago, when current ECB banking supervisor Andrea Enria was nominated for the position, the news reached the media before the ECB had officially announced it.

Lagarde took the action after Reuters news agency reported exclusively the day before that European Central Bank staff had raised key inflation forecasts for the euro zone. These quarterly economic and inflation forecasts issued by the central bank are considered an important factor in interest rate decisions. The majority of economists had previously assumed that the ECB would decide to pause interest rates at the meeting this time after nine consecutive increases. Many economists changed their assessment after the Reuters news and relied on the increase, and they were right. According to insiders, Lagarde criticized the leak of this information at the beginning of the two-day interest rate meeting. There were also critical voices among his fellow council members.

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