DUBLIN (Reuters) - Monetary economics has not broken down in the euro zone and a gradual recovery from the bloc’s debt crisis will allow interest rates eventually to normalise, European Central Bank governing council member Philip Lane told an Irish newspaper on Saturday.
Almost two years after the ECB began its 2.3 trillion euro ($2.4 trillion) asset-buying scheme, inflation in the euro zone is still expected to undershoot its target of just below 2 percent at least through 2018.
But Lane, governor of the Irish Central Bank, said a recovery and normalisation of rates required patience.
“I think we will see continued recovery but the nature of debt crises is that these recoveries can be quite gradual in nature,” Lane said in an interview with the Irish Independent newspaper published by the Irish Central Bank on Saturday.
“But ... I don’t think monetary economics has broken, the basic laws I think remain in place and essentially as Europe recovers interest rates will normalise and, you know, economies will normalise.”
ECB chief economist Peter Praet on Friday admitted the impact of the asset-buying scheme has been disappointing so far, but said growth was picking up.
Lane said there remained concerns about individual euro zone economies.
“We have to remain vigilant to issues to do with the sustainability of sovereign debt and this I think is currently being managed in different ways but it remains an ongoing concern,” Lane said.
Lane said the biggest challenge for the Irish Central Bank was managing the fallout from Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, which Lane said was his worst day since his appointment as governor in late 2015.
“It was immediately obvious that ... (the) defining challenge for the country, for Europe and for us as a central bank is to manage Brexit,” he said.
($1 = 0.9574 euros)
Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Dale Hudson