PRESS RELEASE

New ECB regulation on MFI interest rate statistics

20 December 2001

At its meeting on 20 December 2001 the Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) approved a new Regulation concerning statistics on interest rates applied by monetary financial institutions (MFIs) to deposits and loans vis-à-vis households and non-financial corporations.

The new Regulation aims to ensure the provision of statistics that are harmonised and complete. These statistics will supply essential information for the analysis of monetary developments and the monetary transmission mechanism as well as for monitoring financial stability. They will also provide the banking sector and the general public with a single set of comparable interest rate statistics across the euro area.

The availability of the new MFI interest rate statistics will permit the ECB to phase out the ten euro area retail interest rates that have been published in the ECB's Monthly Bulletin since January 1999. These ten interest rate series are based on existing national interest rate statistics. While the publication of these series ensured that some retail interest rate statistics were available from the start of Monetary Union, the series themselves have serious limitations. The underlying data are not harmonised and their scope and detail do not satisfy fully the requirements for the definition and conduct of monetary policy.

This new Regulation on MFI interest rate statistics is the second part of a statistical package, the aim of which is to make essential improvements to the statistical information available for the fulfilment of the tasks of the European System of Central Banks and of the ECB, in particular, the task of defining and implementing the single monetary policy. The first part of this package, Regulation ECB/2001/13 concerning the consolidated balance sheet of the monetary financial institutions sector, was approved by the Governing Council at its meeting on 22 November 2001.

It should be stressed that in the development of this statistical package every effort has been made to minimise the extra burden on reporting institutions; in respect of the statistics covered by both Regulations, it is intended to keep the reporting requirements stable for at least five years.

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