ECB could use negative deposit rates, Asmussen says

BELGRADE Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:34am EST

BELGRADE Dec 12 (Reuters) - Charging banks for depositing money is one potential tool the European Central Bank could use to encourage banks to put their money to more productive use, ECB Executive Board member Joerg Asmussen said on Thursday.

The central bank should be cautious before embarking on that course, he said.

The ECB cut its main refinancing rate to a record low of 0.25 percent in November and kept its deposit rate at zero, where it has been since July of last year.

"Negative deposit rates are an instrument we can use in theory," Asmussen said at a news conference at the Serbian central bank. "I would be very cautious, but I would not exclude this." (Reporting by Ivana Sekularic; Writing by Sakari Suoninen; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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