March 14, 2018 / 2:02 PM / 3 months ago

ECB on course for gradual normalization: Villeroy

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The European Central Bank is on a course for gradual policy normalization as economic growth is robust and inflation is slowly rising, French central bank chief Francois Villeroy de Galhau said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO -- Governor of the Bank of France Francois Villeroy de Galhau attends a press conference after the Franco-German Financial Council meeting in Berlin, Germany, September 23, 2016. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt/File Photo

“What we see now is a welcome alignment of the stars: against the economic background of a robust expansion with gradual progress on inflation, there is a broad convergence of market expectations with the views within our Governing Council,” Villeroy told a conference in Frankfurt.

“At present, there is very little debate among us,” Villeroy said.

The ECB last week gave up a pledge to raise asset buys if necessary, a small tweak in its policy message that was taken by markets as confirmation that it remains on course to end bond purchases later this year.

“We confirmed last week our course of gradual normalization, with the removal of the so-called “easing bias” on the asset purchase program,” Villeroy added.

Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Catherine Evans

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