Still good reasons to join the euro: ECB's Asmussen

There are still good reasons for countries to join the euro zone, despite its difficulties at the moment, European Central Bank Executive Board member Joerg Asmussen said on Monday.

Emerging economies in central and eastern Europe are among potential candidates to join the single currency. Asmussen, speaking at an annual meeting of central and east European bank chiefs, said those countries would benefit from lower transaction costs and the removal of exchange rate risks, given that the euro zone was already by far their main trading partner.

"I recognize that, at present, the euro area is not an excellent advertisement for stability given the difficulties facing a number of its members," he said in a speech at the meeting in Berlin. "I also think it is important not to read too much into the current situation."

The euro zone economy is going through its second recession since the 2007/08 financial crisis. Last month, Cyprus became the fifth member of the single currency to require a bailout by international lenders, raising doubts over the currency bloc's future.

Asmussen said many eastern and central European companies were already integrated into the euro zone supply chain, another reason they would benefit from joining the currency bloc.

(Reporting by Annika Breidthardt; writing Eva Kuehnen; Editing by Susan Fenton)