European Central Bank head Mario Draghi is warning of the economic dangers of not acting swiftly to deal with low inflation.

Draghi said Thursday in a speech in Frankfurt, Germany that "the risks of acting too late outweigh the risks of acting too early." Consumer price inflation across the 19-country eurozone is only 0.4 percent annually, below the bank's goal of just under 2 percent.

He rejected recent arguments circulating among economists that central banks cannot do much about excessively low inflation. He said that attitude risks letting low inflation become ingrained in decisions about wages and prices.

He defended the bank's active use of stimulus measures, which are designed to get inflation back to target. Financial markets expect the bank to step up its monetary measures next month.