Trichet wary of recent data glimmers

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said on Sunday it is too early to draw definitive conclusions on an economic recovery and that glimmers of hope from data indicators should not be over played.

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet speaks during a Q&A session after giving a speech in Tokyo April 17, 2009. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

In recent weeks Trichet has often said that he expects to see a moderate recovery next year.

But small signs of improvements in some data and a slight rise in optimism from bellwether firms such as U.S. giant GE have stoked hope among economists.

“With respect to 2009, let’s be prepared for having a very difficult year,” he said in a transcript of an interview with Japanese newspaper Mainichi.

“As is always observed, in the course of the year, you have ups and downs: a mixture of better indicators and worse ones. Therefore, I would not over emphasise whatever we are observing, and would not draw definitive conclusions from the various indicators whether up or down.”

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In another interview Trichet also gave his clearest hint yet that the ECB could, as analysts expect, cut its headline interest to 1 percent next month.

“I said I did not exclude that we could decrease rates by a very measured pace. I said: ‘today we had decreased rates by 25 basis points. It’s a measured pace’. Therefore it is the scale of a possible future move,” he told Yomiuri newspaper.

The ECB chief also said he thought authorities had now come up with enough measures to ensure a recovery.

“I think that what has been decided in principle is appropriate. This is also true for fiscal activation,” he told Mainichi.

“Rapid disbursement of the money, which has already been committed, is essential for confidence. In this domain, I would say don’t pile up new decisions, but execute what has already been decided.”

Reporting by Marc Jones; Editing by David Cowell