FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The European Central Bank (ECB) may not have the data it needs by its Sept. 9 meeting to decide the future of its emergency bond-buying programme, ECB Chief Economist Philip Lane said on Thursday, cooling expectations for what is widely seen as a crucial meeting.
The ECB last week decided to maintain an elevated level of bond buying, but as the economy rebounds and the pandemic retreats some policymakers are already making the case to start a discussion about rolling back emergency stimulus.
"We're not necessarily going to have every piece of hard data you want to have going into the September meeting," Lane told Bloomberg TV.
"September is of course going to be an important meeting, but there's going to be a lot of data coming in throughout the autumn," he said.
Lane also repeated the ECB's stance that, for now, it is "premature and unnecessary" to discuss questions related to the end of the bank's 1.85 trillion euro ($2.21 trillion) Pandemic Emergency Purchased Programme (PEPP), especially since unemployment remained too high and wage pressure was muted.
PEPP is scheduled to run at least until the end of March or until the so-called crisis phase of the pandemic is over.
Lane said the ECB would compensate for thinner summer trading volume by buying more bonds during more liquid periods while buying less in August.
"We don't have a fixed volume approach to PEPP," he said.
($1 = 0.8372 euros)
(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Francesco Canepa, Christopher Cushing and Kim Coghill)