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Stabilizing euro zone growth vindicates ECB: Mersch

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Euro zone growth and inflation appear to be stabilizing after big falls last year, vindicating the European Central Bank’s protracted stimulus, ECB board member Yves Mersch said on Tuesday.

The ECB approved a range of support measures in September despite the opposition of many policymakers, hoping to arrest a persistent decline in growth that had even raised recession fears, particularly in Germany, the bloc’s biggest economy.

“The economy is certainly giving good signs of stabilization… and the same goes a little bit for inflation,” Mersch told a financial conference in Frankfurt.

He said the development could prompt the ECB to discuss its risk assessment, debating whether growth risks were still skewed to the downside or whether they were now more balanced.

“It will be premature to give you an answer, but we are certainly moving in the right direction, and for us central bankers, it means that we were proven right to have very accommodative monetary,” Mersch said.

The ECB will next meet on Jan. 23 and it is expected to keep policy unchanged. Policy is seen by economists as on hold for most of this year, allowing past stimulus decision to work their way into the economy.

(Reporting By Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Francesco Canepa)