ECB's Villeroy says mistake to set end date now for pandemic response

FILE PHOTO: Governor of the Bank of France Francois Villeroy de Galhau delivers a speech to open a conference entitled "Bretton Woods: 75 years later" in Paris, France, July 16, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

PARIS (Reuters) - The European Central Bank should refrain from setting an end date to its monetary stimulus package launched this year in reaction to the coronavirus crisis, ECB policymaker Francois Villeroy de Galhau said in an interview published on Friday.

The ECB is on track to buy up to 1.35 trillion euros ($1.58 trillion) worth of debt through June 2021 under its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme, plus several hundred billion euros through other purchase schemes.

“We have said that the program will run until the crisis phase is over, and at least until next June,” Villeroy, who is head of France’s central bank, told German magazine Der Spiegel. “Given the uncertain situation today, it would be a mistake to decide an end date now.”

Villeroy added that the ECB had the capacity to take additional action if warranted by incoming economic data, but said “so far, we are not there”.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Tomasz Janowski