ECB's Visco says bank needs symmetrical inflation target, more transparency - newspaper

FILE PHOTO: Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco presents Bank of Italy's annual report in Rome
FILE PHOTO: Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco presents Bank of Italy's annual report in Rome

MILAN (Reuters) - Board member Ignazio Visco said the European Central Bank should set a clearer inflation target and should attribute the opinions published in its minutes to the relevant policymakers for greater transparency.

Visco, who is governor of the Bank of Italy, told daily newspaper Il Corriere della Sera that the ECB's current target of inflation below but close to 2% in the medium term was "vague and difficult to understand".

"I think the target must be symmetrical," he said in an interview published on Sunday.

"Levels of one percent or 1.5% are too low as we need flexibility margins to face crisis," he said.

Visco said the ECB was studying a recent shift in U.S. central bank strategy which puts more focus on bolstering the labour market and less on lowering inflation.

"We are discussing ourselves on how to review our monetary policy strategy," he said.

Visco also said the ECB should provide more clarity on its intentions and that opinions reported in its policy meeting minutes, now anonymous, might be explicitly attributed to those policymakers who expressed them.

"People need to know what each of us thinks and how we express it in the Council meetings," he said, adding in was not positive that monetary policy decisions were followed by press releases by some national central banks or statement by policymakers.

September policy meeting minutes showed that the ECB might be more concerned about the epidemic-hit economy than analysts had previously thought, suggesting it could roll out more stimulus later this year.

"Monetary policy must remain expansive and be so for a long time," he said.



(Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)