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PARIS, Feb 5 (Reuters) - The European Central Bank is transparent and simply applied its rules when it ended its exemption from credit requirements for Greek bonds, the ECB’s chief economist said in an interview in French daily Les Echos on Thursday.
“The conditions of access to liquidity from the European Central Bank are clear,” Peter Praet said when asked about Wednesday’s decision. “If the conditions are not met anymore, the ECB must draw the consequences.”
The ECB abruptly canceled its acceptance of Greek bonds in return for funding on Wednesday, shifting the burden onto the central bank in Athens to finance its lenders and isolating Greece unless it strikes a new reform deal.
Praet said he was “not satisfied” with the current situation regarding monitoring of Greece by the EU/IMF/ECB ‘troika’ of international lenders, but did not specify what changes he would like to see.
Praet also said there were the first indications of improvement of financial conditions in the euro zone, which he saw as a sign that the central bank’s quantitative easing plan announced in January would work.
The euro exchange rate now better reflected the divergent economic situation between the euro zone and United States, he said, adding that the ECB could do more than QE if necessary but that he was confident QE would be effective. (Reporting by Ingrid Melander; editing by John Stonestreet)