ECB should end negative rates as soon as possible: Holzmann

FILE PHOTO: The logo of the European Central Bank outside its headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, April 26, 2018. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The European Central Bank should raise interest rates as soon as possible as negative rates currently send the wrong signal to savers, Austrian central bank Governor Robert Holzmann told Austrian magazine Trend.

But Holzmann, a hawk on the ECB’s Governing Council who opposed the stimulus package it announced in September, also admitted that lifting rates was difficult and that new ECB President Christine Lagarde was in a tough spot.

While negative rates have been criticized by banks, the accounts of the ECB’s September meeting showed a “very large majority” backed the rate cut, indicating that Holzmann’s views on rates were not supported by others.

Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Hugh Lawson