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ECB should stick to gradual withdrawal of stimulus, rate hikes, ECB's De Cos says

·1-min read

MADRID (Reuters) - The European Central Bank should stick to a withdrawal of its stimulus and proceed gradually with interest rates hikes in July and September, ECB policymaker Pablo Hernandez de Cos said on Tuesday.

He said that the ECB would end as of beginning of July the net asset purchases programme followed by a first interest rate hike, that "will be followed by another one in September, (to get us) out of the negative territory and then we will decide according to the circumstances."

"What we can do is to eliminate progressively in a very gradual manner, all the accommodation of our monetary policy (...) we will be deciding some steps in the following weeks, and this will be enough," De Cos told a financial event in Barcelona.

Euro zone inflation rose more than expected to yet another record high in May, challenging the ECB's view that gradual interest rate increases from July will be enough to tame stubbornly high price growth.

(Reporting by Jesús Aguado; Editing by Emma Pinedo)

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