May 8, 2018 / 3:24 PM / in a year

ECB can end bond buys this year despite slowdown: Vasiliauskas

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The slowdown in euro zone growth is not dramatic and the European Central Bank can still end its bond purchase scheme this year, ECB policymaker Vitas Vasiliauskas told German newspaper Boersen-Zeitung on Tuesday.

“An end to the net asset purchases by the end of this year seems a realistic and appropriate scenario to me given the current growth and inflation outlook,” Vasiliauskas, Lithuania’s central bank chief, was quoted as saying.

In a separate interview to the Handelsblatt newspaper Vasiliauskas said it was likely that the purchases would stop at the end of the year after “a transitional period”.

In the Boersen-Zeitung interview, Vasiliauskas added that market expectations for the first rate hike six to nine months after the end of asset buys was “logical and appropriate”.

“We continue to expect solid and broad-based growth,” he said. “We have to wait until June, what our new projections will tell us. But there is no reason to dramatize the situation today. That is certainly not the end of the recovery.”

Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Francesco Canepa

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