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ECB Sees Soft Signs of Fragile Economic Recovery, Liikanen Says

Sept. 20 (Bloomberg) -- European Central Bank Governing Council member Erkki Liikanen said indicators measuring confidence among households and businesses are signaling the worst may be over for the economy of the euro area.

“There are soft signs of the economy improving,” Liikanen, who also heads the Bank of Finland, said today in an interview on Helsinki-based television broadcaster MTV3. “The recovery is fragile and uncertain. The ECB supports growth with accommodative monetary policy.”

The Frankfurt-based bank has kept its benchmark interest rate at a record low of 0.5 percent since May to buoy the 17-nation economy after pledging in July last year to do “whatever it takes” to protect the single currency. The unprecedented phase of monetary easing paid off as the euro-area exited its longest recession in the second quarter.

“The ECB’s task is to safeguard price stability,” Liikanen says. “When price stability is secure, we can use monetary policy tools to support economic growth and employment. We have said interest rates will stay at the current or lower level for a longer period.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Kati Pohjanpalo in Helsinki at kpohjanpalo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tasneem Brogger at tbrogger@bloomberg.net

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