ECB is seeking to "maintain" stimulus with latest moves: Praet

FRANKFURT, March 12 (Reuters) - The European Central Bank is merely trying to “maintain” its level of monetary stimulus with its latest policy moves, its chief economist said on Tuesday, dismissing the notion of a change in direction.

The ECB last week pushed back the timing of its first hike to next year and unveiled plans to grant banks more multi-year loans, with President Mario Draghi saying the central bank was therefore “adding accommodation”.

“They are a response to the downgrade of the economic outlook,” Praet said on Twitter when asked if the latest measures amounted to a u-turn.

“Our latest decisions aim to maintain the accommodative policy stance necessary to reach our objective,” he added. (Reporting By Francesco Canepa Editing by Balazs Koranyi)