UPDATE 2-ECB's Draghi signals ready to act, defends banker meetings
* Draghi says inflation reading weaker
* ECB chief says money printing scheme 'flexible'
* Draghi defends meetings with banks, hedge funds
* Draghi - did not discuss policy at private meetings (Adds detail, comments)
By Francesco Guarascio and Francesco Canepa
BRUSSELS/ FRANKFURT, Nov 12 (Reuters) - The head of the European Central Bank underlined on Thursday the bank's readiness to extend money printing, warning that a key measure of economic health -- price inflation -- was flagging.
In remarks to European Union lawmakers, Mario Draghi also defended private meetings between policy setters and banks and hedge funds, such as executive board member Benoit Coeure's meeting with a French bank hours before the ECB cut rates.
"Signs of a sustained turnaround in core inflation have somewhat weakened," Draghi told the European Parliament's economics committee, addressing a barometer of economic health that could influence the ECB's massive money printing scheme.
His comments, pointing to the risks of a spillover to Europe from a slowdown in China or other emerging markets, amplify a chorus of similar warnings indicating further possible action as soon as Dec. 3, when ECB policymakers next gather. Continuación...