ECB should decide next week to take foot off gas on QE: Nowotny

European Central Bank (ECB) Governing Council member and OeNB governor Ewald Nowotny addresses a news conference in Vienna, Austria, June 9, 2017. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

VIENNA (Reuters) - The European Central Bank is likely to decide next week to ease its asset purchases while avoiding an abrupt cut in their volume, ECB policymaker Ewald Nowotny said on Friday.

The ECB’s asset purchases are due to expire at the end of the year, and policymakers are set to decide on Oct. 26 whether to prolong them. They will have to reconcile the bloc’s best growth run in a decade with an inflation rate expected to undershoot the bank’s target of almost 2 percent for years.

“The question (next week) will be whether the program should be continued at the current intensity or whether hitting the brakes is called for,” Nowotny told an investment conference. “I think it would be dangerous to abruptly slam on the brakes. But I also think the ECB will slowly take its foot off the gas.”

Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Catherine Evans