ECB defends rate freeze, has 'clear view': board member

FRANKFURT (AFP) - The European Central Bank defended on Wednesday its decision not to alter interest rates this month, saying it had a "clear view" of the situation and would act if necessary.

"We have a clear view of the situation and we will act when necessary," the ECB's chief economist Peter Praet told a conference in response to criticism that the bank should cut rates again to avert deflation in the 18 countries that share the euro.