ECB ready to act to help credit market if needed: Liikanen

Bank of Finland Governor Erkki Liikanen speaks during a press briefing on the release of the latest issue of the Euro & talous (Euro and Economy) journal in Helsinki, Finland March 15, 2012. REUTERS/Lehtikuva/Antti Aimo-Koivisto

MILAN (Reuters) - The European Central Bank is ready to boost liquidity in the credit market by issuing another long-term loan if necessary, ECB Governing Council member Erkki Liikanen was quoted as saying on Sunday by Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper.

The ECB carried out so-called long-term refinancing operations (LTROs) to ease funding strains at the height of the euro zone debt crisis.

“I am ready to act, if necessary,” Liikanen told the paper, when asked if another such loan was planned. He did not give a timeline for any such move.

Markets have already begun to speculate on the chances of another of the operations which saw the ECB flood banks with more than 1 trillion euros ($1.35 trillion) in cheap three-year loans in late 2011 and early 2012.

The ECB’s Governing Council, in contrast with the U.S. Federal Reserve’s move towards reining in stimulus, has said it is willing to take further steps to keep market interest rates low given continuing concerns over European growth.

($1 = 0.7402 euros)

Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Mark Potter