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'Prolonged presence of uncertainties' weighs on eurozone: Draghi

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Mario Draghi warned Thursday that risks to the eurozone economy "remain on the downside" and require ongoing stimulus, as he chaired his final press conference as head of the European Central Bank.

[FRANKFURT] Mario Draghi warned Thursday that risks to the eurozone economy "remain on the downside" and require ongoing stimulus, as he chaired his final press conference as head of the European Central Bank.

"In particular, these risks pertain to the prolonged presence of uncertainties related to geopolitical factors, rising protectionism and vulnerabilities in emerging markets,"Mr Draghi told reporters in Frankfurt.

"An ample degree of monetary policy accommodation is still necessary."

Mr Draghi last month reopened his monetary tool box to boost the flagging eurozone economy as the single currency bloc grapples with US-led trade conflicts and Brexit turmoil.

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As well as cutting a key interest rate, Mr Draghi controversially restarted asset purchases to the tune of US$22.4 billion a month, sparking rare public criticism from some fellow members on the ECB's governing council.

But Mr Draghi said economic data since September's meeting had only confirmed "our previous assessment of a protracted weakness" in eurozone growth.

Last week, the International Monetary Fund forecast eurozone growth of just 1.2 per cent this year and 1.4 per cent in 2020.

Mr Draghi, who after eight years is handing over the baton to ex-IMF chief Christine Lagarde, said the firepower he unleashed last month was "justified".

The package of measures would provide "substantial stimulus" to drive up growth and shore up stubbornly low inflation, he said.

Ms Lagarde attended Thursday's governing council meeting as an observer but did not take part in the discussions, the Italian added.

The former French finance minister takes over on November 1.

"No advice is needed, she knows perfectly well what she has to do," Mr Draghi responded to a question about what advice he would give his successor.

AFP