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Germany's Schaeuble urges ECB to start unwinding stimulus this year

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The European Central Bank should start unwinding its ultra-loose monetary policy this year, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in an interview to be published on Friday, adding that it would not be easy.

"The European Central Bank will have the tough task of getting out of the ultra-expansionary monetary policy," Schaeuble told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. "It would presumably be right if the ECB dared to exit this year"

Schaeuble added it was "possible and necessary" for the next government to lower taxes after Germany's general election in September.

He said forecasts that inflation could reach 3 percent in Germany this year would exacerbate concerns about current low interest rates.

While admitting he was no fan of the ECB's monetary policy, he added, "The ECB has a mandate for the eurozone, and it carries it out well."

Schaeuble said the core issue was that a number of eurozone countries had not been able to boost competitiveness as required. "The problem is the weakness of the other countries, not Germany's strength," he said.


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