BRUSSELS, April 25 Euro zone finance ministers
will discuss the euro's exchange rate and its economic impact on
May 5, but the exchange rate is near its long-term equilibrium
and the discussion is unlikely to grow contentious, a senior EU
official said on Friday.
The European Central Bank, whose representative will take
part in the ministerial discussions on May 5, said earlier in
April that the strengthening of the euro exchange rate was an
important factor behind the sharp slowdown in inflation.
The bank also said that if the euro appreciated
further, the ECB would respond with monetary policy, to keep the
overall policy bias unchanged.
"The euro exchange rate is more or less in a long-run
equilibrium situation," the official said. "Recent exchange rate
shifts have contributed to the below-average inflation as well
as other factors, like sinking commodity prices.
"I don't expect any contentious discussion on exchange rate
policies, just looking at the contribution of exchange rate
movements to the current economic situation. I don't expect it
to go beyond that," said the official, who takes part in the
preparation of the meeting.
He also said that euro zone ministers were unlikely to
comment on possible plans by the ECB to start unconventional
monetary policy loosening, for instance through bond purchases,
at the meeting.
"I do not expect any comments on the actual monetary policy
from members of the Eurogroup. The economic situation per se,
which is not uninfluenced by the level of inflation, will be the
focus of the ministers' interventions," the official said.
(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski and Martin Santa; Editing by