The ECB's monetary policy
The main objective of the monetary policy of the European Central Bank (ECB) is to maintain price stability. This objective relates to the euro area overall, and not to the price development in the individual euro area member states. The ECB has defined price stability as an annual increase in the harmonised index of consumer prices in the euro area, HICP, of close to but below 2 per cent in the medium term.
The ECB's monetary-policy decisions are based on an economic analysis and a monetary analysis. The former is an analysis of a wide range of financial and real-economic indicators. The latter comprises an analysis of a number of monetary indicators, including M3 and loans in the euro area.
A description of the instruments, which the ECB applies when conducting its monetary policy, can be found on the ECB website.