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ECB money-printing shouldn't become 'unbound', says Weidmann

FILE PHOTO: German Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann attends the 29th Frankfurt European Banking Congress (EBC) at the Old Opera house in Frankfurt, Germany November 22, 2019. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The European Central Bank’s massive buying of government bonds shouldn’t become a form of “unbound”, permanent help to indebted governments, ECB policymaker Jens Weidmann said on Monday.

The head of the Bundesbank defended the ECB’s “flexible” purchases, which have been focused on debt from struggling Italy, but said these should only be temporary.

“‘Flexible’ should not mean ‘unbound’,” Weidmann said in a recorded message. “Again, it is important to me that monetary policy does not set the wrong incentives for public finances.”

He warned the ECB’s ultra-easy policy will need to be tightened when the economic outlook allows to prevent the central bank from becoming “entangled with politics” and overburdened.

“Policymakers must not assume that we would keep the financing costs of governments low forever or iron out any differences in sovereign risk premia,” Weidmann added.

Reporting by Francesco Canepa; Editing by Balazs Koranyi