February 28, 2020 / 8:49 AM / a month ago

ECB could hold extraordinary virus meeting if needed, Vasiliauskas says

FILE PHOTO - The European Central Bank (ECB) logo is pictured before a news conference on the outcome of the meeting of the Governing Council in Frankfurt, Germany, January 23, 2020. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Central Bank does not expect to take any action on coronavirus at its next governing council meeting, on March 12, but it could call an emergency meeting, Lithuania’s central bank governor, Vitas Vasiliauskas, said on Friday.

At this point, the ECB has a “wait and see approach”, Vasiliauskas said at a news conference in Brussels. But “there is no problem for the governing council to meet in some extraordinary way, not to wait until the next monetary policy meeting.”

Asked whether the ECB was waiting for decisions by other central banks before acting on the coronavirus outbreak, he said, “We do not live in an autonomous world. We cooperate with other central banks. We exchange information and we coordinate actions.”

The ECB is monitoring the virus’s effect on supply chains and might need to examine its possible impact on consumption if “demand shocks” emerged, Vasiliauskas said.

Separately, Vasiliauskas said the current policy review the ECB is carrying out would probably be concluded in December. He said he did not expect “radical changes” in the way the bank works.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Larryh King

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