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ECB's Praet warns of external risks to euro zone economy

ECB's Praet warns of external risks to euro zone economy

FRANKFURT-European Central Bank President Mario Draghi sent a strong signal Friday that the ECB will extend its EUR1.7 trillion ($1.8 trillion) bond-purchase program next month, warning that the eurozone's weak economy remains clouded by risks and heavily reliant on the ECB's stimulus.

Mr. Mersch also warned of "many uncertainties.in the public sector" in Europe this year and next.

The hawkish rate setter said the ECB's ultra-easy policy of bond buying and negative rates was appropriate while the euro zone's recovery remained hesitant. "The ECB will continue to act, as warranted, by using all the instruments available" until inflation picks up sustainably, he said.

But Mr. Mersch also cautioned against excessive expectations for the ECB's upcoming meeting, and said the bank's next set of economic forecasts are likely to show inflation "very close" to 2% by 2019. Policy makers will discuss in December how to prepare for a change in communication and policies, he added.

Since March 2015, the European Central Bank has been engaged in the large-scale purchase of sovereign bonds and assets, with 80 billion euros ($84.8 billion) being pumped into the program per month.

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Draghi said he was aware of many banks' current problems to turn a profit as the sat on piles of toxic credits and had to make provisions to boost their core capital, prompting them to grant fewer loans to corporate and private customers.

The global banking sector needs to be well regulated and measures already decided should not be rolled back, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Friday as concerns grow that the new USA administration would ease bank rules.

However, the ECB noted that mortgages rates are capped in some markets, by authorities other than the Central Bank.

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".

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