banks more long-term, cheap loans so they can lend more. It could even decide to make banks pay to keep funds on deposit at the central bank - again, to encourage them to lend rather than hoard cash.
Mario Draghi, the ECB's president, said Monday that the bank continues to expect its key interest rates to remain at present, or lower, levels, for an extended period of time.
''Thus, monetary policy will remain accommodative for as long as necessary,'' he told the European Parliament's committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs in Brussels.
While noting that it takes time for policy decisions to work their way through markets and affect the wider economy, Draghi said the ECB is ''ready and able to act if needed'' in the event that a protracted period of low inflation entails.
The November rate cut was largely predicated on the fact that consumer price inflation unexpectedly fell to 0.7 percent in the year to October. That was way below the ECB's target of keeping price rises just below 2 percent. The latest count saw inflation edge back up to 0.9 percent in the year to November.