FRANKFURT - Inflation pressures in the euro zone will remain high in the near term but the European Central Bank must unwind stimulus cautiously and gradually given the presence of exceptional uncertainties, ECB Vice President Luis de Guindos said on Thursday.

"Medium-term inflation expectations remain anchored, close to our 2% target," he said in a speech. "We need to move gradually and cautiously as we normalise our monetary policy."

He said the ECB will end asset buys early in the third quarter and interest rates will rise some time following the conclusion of bond purchases.

(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; editing by John Stonestreet)