FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The European Central Bank is committed to keeping its monetary policy ultra easy to bring euro area inflation back to its objective of almost 2 percent, ECB chief economist Peter Praet said on Thursday.

"We therefore remain committed to preserving the very substantial amount of monetary support that is embedded in our staff projections and that – barring a fundamental change in sentiment and in the underlying momentum driving the recovery – remains necessary to secure a return of inflation (target)," Praet said in a speech in Washington.

(Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by Hugh Lawson)