ECB sees more stable eurozone, inflation under control

AFP, Monday 31 Dec 2012

A senior European Central Bank official says the euroarea's inflation rate is currently under control

The eurozone is more stable than it was this time last year and price pressures are well contained, a senior member of the European Central Bank was quoted as saying on Monday.

In an interview with German daily Der Tagesspiegel, ECB Executive Board member Joerg Asmussen said: "We have no indications at the moment that inflation is rising. On the contrary."

"If we see rising inflationary pressure, we will act. But we do not see that at the moment," added the central banker.

The ECB aims to keep inflation close to but below two per cent.

According to the latest data, prices in the 17-country eurozone rose by 2.2 percent in November compared with the previous year, a sharp drop from 2.5 percent in October.

Asmussen appeared optimistic about the state of the eurozone which seemed close to collapse at certain points of 2012.

"The eurozone is without doubt more stable than 12 months ago ... Ireland and Portugal have progressed the most. Both have managed to return gradually to the capital markets," he said.

"Spain has to clean up its banking sector, Greece is back on course," he judged.

Nevertheless, he cautioned that the process of recovering competitiveness in the embattled euro area "would still take years."

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