Inflation in the euro zone is not a worry despite the slightly higher forecasts in the recent European Central Bank staff projections, Governing Council member Athanasios Orphanides was quoted as saying on Sunday.
Orphanides also told the Dow Jones news agency that once the European Union's facility to help troubled members is in place, the need for the ECB to buy bonds might end as those market segments would probably improve.
The upward revision in the inflation forecast is primarily driven by energy and other commodity price increases. It does not reflect an underlying inflation concern, Orphanides, who also heads the central bank of Cyprus, said in an interview with Dow Jones.
Indeed, core inflation in the euro area has been trending down. In light of these developments, I do not view high inflation as a concern.
Inflation expectations also remained well anchored, he said.
ECB staff projections released on Thursday showed inflation estimates at 1.4 to 1.6 percent for this year and in the range of 1.0 to 2.2 percent for next, compared with the ECB's target of inflation below, but close to 2 percent.
Orphanides also told the news agency that talk of a Greek default was ill-informed.
There is an element of absurdity in talking about a high probability of default by the Greek government right now, Orphanides was quoted as saying, commenting on a Wall Street Journal survey last week, which put the default probability at 73 percent.
Orphanides also said European financial surveillance must be improved and added putting together a new agency for this purpose might be needed.
One attractive idea is the creation of an independent fiscal agency that monitors and assesses fiscal policies across the euro area, he said and added that sanctions and incentives for complying with rules must also be made more effective.
Orphanides also commented on the ECB's Securities Markets Programme, through which it is buying bonds in segments hit particularly hard, indicating the ECB could end this soon, if the European Union rescue package calms markets.
In the first weeks of the programme, the ECB has bought about 40.5 billion euros worth of bonds, but has not given details of the purchases. It has not disclosed how long the programme would run.
I could envision that, when the European Financial Stability Facility is fully operational, there will be improvements in the market segments that have not been functioning well over the past several weeks, he said.
Clearly, once these improvements are in place, there would no longer be a need to continue with a specific programme.
Euro-zone countries have agreed on a 440 billion euro European Financial Stability Facility to lend money in emergency to states shut out of credit markets.
(Reporting by Sakari Suoninen; Editing by Louise Heavens)