WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Wages in the 19-country euro zone are rising slower than the European Central Bank hoped and will likely take more time to respond to improved growth, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Saturday.
Wage growth is weak as slack in the labor market remains sizable, unions tend to look at past inflation rates when setting wage demands and workers are more interested in securing their jobs than in asking for bigger pay, Draghi told a news conference on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund annual meeting.
Having fought low inflation for years, the ECB is due to decide at its Oct. 26 meeting whether to prolong stimulus, reconciling rapid economic expansion with weak wage and price growth.
"The bottom line for policy is that we are confident that as the conditions will continue to improve, the inflation rate will gradually converge in a self-sustained manner," Draghi said. "But together with our confidence, we should also be patient because it's going to take time."
(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Andrea Ricci)