FRANKFURT (Reuters) - It is too early for the European Central Bank to decide on expanding or extending its asset-purchase programme, a member of the ECB's executive board said on Monday, even after inflation in the currency bloc turned negative.
Six months into the ECB's 60-billion-euros a month asset-purchase programme, headline price growth in the currency bloc turned negative in September, leading some market participants to speculate that the scheme may be ramped up or prolonged.
Asked about that during a television interview with CNBC, ECB executive board member Benoit Coeure said any such decision would be premature, even if the central bank stood ready to act, if necessary.
"If anything were needed, we would need to be ready," Coeure, who was attending a G20 meeting in Lima, Peru, said. "But it is too early to pass that kind of judgement."
He said the euro zone's economy was recovering, albeit modestly, and the biggest downside risks were coming from other regions, especially emerging markets.
"What we see is a steady recovery momentum in the euro area," Coeure said.
"Certainly, in our judgement, in our analysis, the risks come from the outside."
(Reporting By Francesco Canepa; editing by Balazs Koranyi)