[FRANKFURT] Price inflation is set to gradually improve this year but it remains too early to predict a turning point, the European Central Bank said on Monday.
The conclusion, published in the ECB's bulletin, suggests that the ECB will be in no hurry to pare back its money printing scheme designed to bolster the economy and lift inflation.
ECB President Mario Draghi has embarked on a 1-trillion-euro-plus money printing programme to buy chiefly government bonds that is set to last until September 2016. Many in Germany, however, would like to see it end sooner.
"It remains too early to identify a turning point in underlying inflation from a statistical point of view. More data are required for the signal for such a turning point to become strong enough," the paper said.
Last month, the ECB raised its inflation forecast to 0.3 per cent for this year, having previously had it at zero. Inflation next year is seen at 1.5 per cent.