8 June 2001, 13:53  Duisenberg says euro still has upward potential

FRANKFURT (AFX) - European Central Bank president Wim Duisenberg said he still believes the euro has the potential to appreciate against the dollar.
In an interview with the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Duisenberg also said he still wished his colleagues in the ECB Governing Council and the finance ministers in the euro area would speak with "a little discipline" when communicating to the public. .
The newspaper said Duisenberg had conceded the bank made mistakes in the press but not with the message it wanted to convey to the public. .
He said the prospects in the US economy remain uncertain and that a fundamental reason for a strong euro lies in the risks inherent in the huge deficit in the US balance of payments. .
He said an indication of major problems in the US economy is President George Bush's advocacy for limits in steel imports. He described this as a protectionist move. .
Turning to criticisms that the ECB policy is supposedly unclear and that the last interest rate cut was not properly explained, he said the markets and particularly the media got what they wanted but the timing was not what they had expected. .
He said some were apparently irritated by the move but he did not want to take the financial markets by surprise. .
On his colleages at the Governing Council, Duisenberg said it would not be possible for everybody to speak with one voice because the council members are not "marionettes". .
But he still wished the 18 council members and the 12 European finance ministers would show a "little discipline". He noted the French had always kept to the text of anything agreed upon.

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