ECB Officials Warn Against Dialing Back Stimulus Too Soon

By Tom Fairless and Todd BuellFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Top European Central Bank officials cautioned Wednesday against reducing the bank's monetary stimulus too soon, suggesting the ECB will hold course at its policy meeting next week despite signs of strength in the eurozone economy.

The comments, at three separate events in the U.S., come as ECB officials head into a quiet period ahead of their April 26-27 meeting.

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Benoît Coeuré, who sits on the ECB's six-member executive board, stressed in a New York speech it isn't yet time to alter the bank's policy mix or its guidance to investors. His fellow board member, Peter Praet, expressed similar caution in a speech upstate.

At a separate event in New York, ECB member François Villeroy de Galhau, the governor of France's central bank, said the ECB's current policies were "fully appropriate" and shouldn't be adjusted until inflation has picked up durably.

"We need to be prudent, because the recovery is still fragile," Mr. Villeroy de Galhau said.

The ECB is buying EUR60 billion ($64 billion) a month of mostly government bonds under its so-called quantitative-easing program, which is due to run at least through December. It also has pushed short-term interest rates below zero and extended a series of large loans to banks.

But a recent run of solid economic data has led to calls in some eurozone countries, notably Germany, for an about turn from the ECB.

Mr. Villeroy de Galhau conceded that the bloc's economy was on the mend, but warned that underlying inflation -- excluding volatile food and energy prices -- remained too weak.

Write to Tom Fairless at and Todd Buell at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 19, 2017 14:00 ET (18:00 GMT)