March 3, 2020 / 5:17 PM / a month ago

ECB ready to support economy, but governments must help, Villeroy says

FILE PHOTO: Governor of the Bank of France Francois Villeroy de Galhau speaks during a news conference at the G7 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Chantilly, near Paris, France, July 18, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

PARIS (Reuters) - The European Central Bank is ready to support the economy in the face of the coronavirus outbreak, but governments with budget leeway also need to help, ECB policymaker Francois Villeroy de Galhau said in a Dutch newspaper interview released on Tuesday.

Villeroy, who is also head of the French central bank, told De Telegraaf that the ECB’s monetary policy was already accommodative and helping to stablise the euro zone economy.

The ECB’s regular refinancing operations and ultra-cheap long-term loans to banks were helping them in turn to lend to companies running into trouble because of the virus outbreak, he said.

“If necessary, we would stand ready to take appropriate and targeted measures, taking into account the liquidity needs of banks and businesses,” Villeroy said, echoing comments from ECB President Christine Lagarde.

Moreover, he said, governments with fiscal space should use it.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas, editing by Larry King

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