German Central Bank President Joachim Nagel: Negative interest rates are a 'thing of the past'

German Central Bank President Joachim Nagel: Negative interest rates are a 'thing of the past'

Soaring inflation in the eurozone meant the European Central Bank would soon have to bring an end to its long-standing policy of negative interest rates, the head of the German central bank said Friday.

"It's for sure that negative interest rates are a thing of the past," Joachim Nagel said after a meeting of G7 finance ministers and central bankers in Koenigswinter, Germany.

Consumer prices rose at a rate of 7.5 percent in the eurozone in April, an all-time high for the currency club and well above the ECB's two-percent target.

The "conclusive decision" from the upwards trend in inflation was that interest rates "have to go up", Nagel said.

Bringing rates out of negative territory would draw a line under years of accommodative ECB policy to boost growth as the European economy listed.

After an end to the ECB's asset-purchasing stimulus, the first interest rate could come "possibly in July", Nagel said.

Further hikes could follow "shortly" after that, the Bundesbank boss added.

Inflation was a "huge danger" for the economy, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said at the same press conference, calling for "consistent measures" to stop price rises getting out of control.

Nagel pushed back a discussion on the size of any hikes, after the US Federal Reserve raised rates by an unusually large 50 basis points at the beginning of May.

"To start the whole process by raising rates, that is of utmost importance," Nagel said.

"The rest we will discuss in the next governing council meeting," he said.

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