ECB President Mario Draghi suggested the era of negative eurozone rates won't end any time soon as he vowed to maintain a "very substantial degree of monetary accommodation" to fan the embers of inflation.
In a speech to the European Banking Congress, Draghi noted that GDP growth in the block is now above its pre-credit crisis level, with growth "moderate, but steady" and the region's economic crisis becoming "more broad-based."
However, he said it was necessary to ask whether the factors behind the recovery are "sufficient to deliver a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation."
He noted that a "sustained adjustment in the path of inflation still relies on the continuation of the current, unprecedented financing conditions.
"It is for this reason that we remain committed to preserving the very substantial degree of monetary accommodation, which is necessary to secure a sustained convergence of inflation towards level below, but close to, 2% over the medium-term," he added.
Eurozone inflation edged up to 0.5% in October, a near-two-year high, from 0.4%, according to European Union data out on Thursday. That's still way behind the ECB's target, however.
Draghi's comments point to an extension of the ECB's bond buying program at its meeting on Dec. 8 and suggest banks will have to contend with negative rates for longer. The ECB cut its deposit rate by quarter of a point to minus 0.4% in March. It trimmed the repo rate by 5 basis points to zero and the marginal lending rate by the same amount to 0.25%.