ECB should talk in June about 2018, eventual QE exit: Nowotny

European Central Bank (ECB) Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny addresses a news conference in Vienna, Austria, March 30, 2017. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

VIENNA (Reuters) - The European Central Bank will have to hold a discussion next month about its strategy for 2018 and the eventual exit from its ultra easy monetary policy, ECB Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny said in comments published on Tuesday.

The ECB last week said that prospects for the euro zone economy have improved but the time to withdraw support has not yet come, resisting pressure from countries like Germany to start winding down its 2.3 trillion euro asset-purchase program.

“At the (ECB) meeting in June we will have to discuss the future strategy, the strategy for the beginning of 2018,” Nowotny, who heads the Austrian National Bank, told newspaper Die Presse.

“It is clear that the (asset-purchasing) program has been and is a success. But on the other hand it is also clear that it must not become a permanent facility... That is the challenge we face,” he added. “The longer such a program continues, the more one must think about its consequences.”

The ECB’s next meeting is on June 8 and most analysts expect a change in the bank’s guidance and possibly the elimination of its bias for more policy easing. But no decision on actual policy steps is likely until September, at the earliest.

Reporting by Francois Murphy and Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Balazs Koranyi