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ECB's Praet says rates to stay low while inflation is moderate


BERLIN (Reuters) - European Central Bank executive board member Peter Praet said in a German newspaper interview published on Friday that ECB interest rates would remain at their current rates, or be cut even further, as long as inflation remains moderate.

Abandoning its policy of never pre-committing on future rates, the ECB said last Thursday it would keep rates at their current record lows, or even lower, for an extended period - its first, tentative use of so-called 'forward guidance'.

"The time frame is in our view linked to the inflation trend remaining restrained," Praet told business daily Handelsblatt. "As long as this trend continues, the key rates will remain at current levels or be cut further."

The ECB kept its main refinancing rate at 0.5 percent and kept its deposit rate at zero at last week's policy meeting.

(Reporting by Stephen Brown)