Monday, November 19, 2007

ECB Liebscher Sees No Stagflation Risk In Euro Zone

European Central Bank Governing Council member Klaus Liebscher said Monday he sees no risk of stagflation in the euro zone, since economic growth seems solid.

Economists and analysts have voiced concerns that the U.S. economy could enter a phase of stagflation following the subprime credit crisis and the rise in the price of crude oil, but Liebscher dismissed a question on whether such a scenario could happen in the euro zone.

"How can we talk about stagflation when we see growth in the euro zone of around potential?" Liebscher said to reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Vienna.

Liebscher added, however, that "risks to economic growth are on the downside, and risks to price stability on the upside." He declined to flag whether the ECB governing council is looking to hike interest rates at its next meeting.

"We have no precommitment on whether to raise rates," Liebscher said, adding that "everything is data related."

Liebscher had said earlier in the day that the current exchange rate volatility has been included as a parameter in the ECB's interest rate decisions.

Monday afternoon Liebscher described the euro's rise against the dollar as a "sharp and substantial rise," but declined to comment on whether the euro's current strength reflects current fundamentals.

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