One day, after boldly cutting interest rates for the first time in five years, some members of the European Central Bank (ECB) appear to have second thoughts.

“The central bank needs to make its decisions rather cautiously and not to rush too much with cutting the interest rate,” said Madis Muller, an ECB Governing Council member and chairman of the Bank of Estonia.

Muller’s colleague, Irish central bank governor Gabriel Makhlouf, said ECB officials still don’t know “how fast we’re going to carry on, if at all,” referring to additional rate cuts.

The head of the Bundesbank, Joachim Nagel, cautions that the ECB shouldn’t be perceived as being on “autopilot” about cutting rates because there is still a lot of uncertainty.

Meanwhile, Latvian central bank governor Martins Kazaks wrote a blog post warning that “domestic price pressures remain strong” and that a tight labor market is keeping “upward pressure on wages.”

For a central bank that just signaled a major policy shift, such rapid backtracking is rather unusual.

But reading between the lines, experts say that this way, European policymakers are managing expectations about what will happen next to pre-empt speculation.

Right decision, wrong time?

Like other central banks, the ECB had long been warming to the idea of rate cuts as eurozone inflation edged closer to the central bank's target.

The problem was that the ECB was very open about its planned rate cuts—so much so that investors started pricing in a rate cut more than three months ago.

Economists say backtracking now would have caught markets by surprise, and not in a good way.

“It does seem that they’ve almost boxed themselves into a bit of a corner,” said Rob Burrows, a portfolio manager at M&G Investments.

Burrows thought the decision to cut rates was a mistake because, even by the central bank’s own admission, inflation was accelerating.

Because of that, the ECB’s decision may go down as one of the most ironic rate cuts in recent memory. “ECB cuts rates while increasing its inflation forecast. Perfect,” said macro analyst Sven Henrich.

Against this bizarre backdrop, ECB officials have all but ruled out a July rate cut, according to Bloomberg. Instead, they’re back to preaching patience.

“Strategic patience”

With the ECB appearing non-committal about its next steps, Lithuanian central bank chairman Gediminas Simkus said “strategic patience” is needed to assess economic data in the coming months.

“A level of restriction is still needed,” Simkus explained. “When I hear triumphant statements that it’s over, inflation is overcome, I say ‘let’s wait: the road is bumpy.’”

By preaching patience, ECB officials resemble their colleagues at the U.S. Fed, who recently had to reset Americans’ expectations about interest rates.

That’s because, unlike the eurozone, the U.S. has seen 37 consecutive months of above 3% inflation. Worse, U.S. consumer prices have re-accelerated in recent months even as economic growth declined.

That explains why some Fed members “mentioned a willingness to tighten policy further should risks to inflation materialize,” according to the minutes of the April 30-May 1 policy meeting.

Wall Street is divided about whether the Fed will follow the ECB’s lead by lowering interest rates this year. A

According to CME Group’s FedWatch Tool—the key gauge of what interest rates traders are pricing in—markets think rate cuts are still on the table this year, but it’s far from guaranteed.

Meanwhile, Citigroup recently revised its forecast, pushing a Fed cut from July to September due to persistent inflation.