report by S&P's chief European economist and a colleague said
2017 was likely to mark the return of inflation in the euro
zone, though core readings that strip out more volatile goods
such as crude oil should remain subdued and give the ECB leeway
to maintain support.
"The ECB could choose to look through the rise in energy
inflation as temporary," the report said.
"Monetary policy is likely to remain accommodative until core
inflation experiences a sustained adjustment of its path,
probably not before 2018."
At its last policy meeting in December, the central bank cut its
pro-stimulus bond purchase program to 60 billion euros ($63
billion) a month from April from the current 80 billion euros
but extended the scheme until the end of 2017 - three months
longer than expected.
It also held its main refinancing rate at zero and its deposit
rate at -0.4 percent.
Since then - and following December's spike in inflation - some
economists and policymakers, notably in Germany, have urged the
ECB to raise interest rates.
S&P says reports of the kind published on Monday do not have a
direct influence on its ratings but views on broad issues like
ECB stimulus are often cited by its sovereign analysts in euro
zone ratings decisions.
(Reporting by Marc Jones; editing by John Stonestreet)
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