December 8, 2014 / 8:53 AM / 3 years ago

ECB's Nowotny says euro zone economy weakening massively

European Central Bank (ECB) Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny addresses a news conference in Vienna December 5, 2014.Leonhard Foeger

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The euro zone is experiencing a massive weakening in its economy not least due to a slowdown in its biggest member, Germany, a senior ECB policy maker said on Monday.

"We see a massive weakening in the euro zone economy," Ewald Nowotny, a member of the ECB's Governing Council, told a conference in Frankfurt.

Nowotny said that the European Central Bank had struck a middle ground in its monetary policy, between extremes in the United States that called for full-blown money printing and others that wanted the ECB to take a less expansive path.

The Austrian central bank chief reiterated a key target spelt out by ECB President Mario Draghi last week.

"The balance sheet of the ECB should reach the levels at the start of 2012, a level which is around 1 trillion euros higher than it is now," he said.

The main focus of discussion on any further ECB asset purchases would be on buying sovereign bonds, and the pros and cons of this would be debated, Nowotny added.

Reporting By John O'Donnell and Paul Carrel

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