FRANKFURT, Sept. 16 ( – The European Central Bank (ECB) remains ready to strengthen its arsenal of measures to support the economy should the need arise, two of its officials said on Wednesday, in turn qualifying the message sent last week at the markets by the institution.

The ECB left its monetary policy unchanged last Thursday and expressed only relative discomfort at the recent strength of the euro, but several members of its Governing Council then spoke of the risks to the forecasts, including that linked to the exchange rate of the single currency.

“We can not exclude that the ECB must add additional support” to the measures already implemented in the face of the crisis, declared Wednesday Pablo Hernandez de Cos, the governor of the Spanish central bank.

Many observers are concerned about low inflation in the euro area, which has been below the ECB’s 2% target for seven years. And the institution’s new forecasts suggest that this weakness could last for several more years.

Isabel Schnabel, member of the executive board of the central bank, assured Wednesday that the acceleration of inflation would be a decisive factor and that an inability to raise it to 2% could justify new measures.

“We continue to monitor the information that comes to us, including the evolution of the exchange rate, and we are ready to act if the data that reaches us does not meet the objective of our emergency measures, which is to fill of the inflation differential resulting from the pandemic, “she told hooly News.

But she added that the economic recovery in the eurozone would take time, as would the rise in inflation.

“We find that our measures provide tangible support for core inflation which has, however, been overshadowed by other factors,” she explained.

(Balazs KOranyi, French version Marc Angrand, edited by Jean-Michel BĂ©lot)