ECB has not discussed QE in any detail, Constancio says

FRANKFURT Tue Nov 19, 2013 3:24pm GMT

European Central Bank (ECB) Vice President Vitor Constancio looks on during the monthly ECB news conference in Frankfurt July 4, 2013. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

European Central Bank (ECB) Vice President Vitor Constancio looks on during the monthly ECB news conference in Frankfurt July 4, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Ralph Orlowski

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - European Central Bank policymakers have not discussed quantitative easing in any detail as a policy option, ECB Vice-President Vitor Constancio said on Tuesday.

Last week, ECB Executive Board member Peter Praet raised the prospect of the central bank starting to buy assets to bring inflation closer to its target just under 2 percent. Euro zone inflation tumbled to 0.7 percent in October.

Asked if the ECB had undertaken technical preparations for quantitative easing (QE), Constancio told reporters: "That was only referred to as a possibility, nothing else."

"I have nothing to add to what he (Praet) said. Everything is possible. That was what Peter Praet said ... it was not discussed in any detail."

Asked what the trigger would be for the ECB to embark on QE, Constancio replied: "As always, our decisions depend on our views about inflation and prospects for inflation."

Constancio added that there were "of course" downsides to the policy option of negative interest rates, "but policy decisions are always about trade-offs. It's not a perfect science, there are concerns of course."

(Reporting by Sakari Suoninen; Writing by Paul Carrel)

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