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ECB extends its asset buying programme

Reuters , Thursday 3 Dec 2015
President of European Central Bank Mario Draghi
President of European Central Bank Mario Draghi speaks during a press conference following a meeting of the governing council in Frankfurt, Germany, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015 (AP)

 The European Central Bank adjusted its asset purchase programme known as quantitative easing on Thursday, extending the scheme's duration into 2017 and agreeing to buy euro-denominated municipal and regional bonds, ECB President Mario Draghi said.

Purchases of mainly government bonds - at 60 billion euros a month - are now seen running until at least March 2017 instead of next September.

He also said that proceeds from the various assets bought would be reinvested back into the scheme.

"We decided to extend the asset-purchase programme.

The monthly purchases of 60 billion euros under the asset-purchase programme are now intended to run until the end of March 2017 or beyond if necessary and in any case until the Governing Council sees a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation consistent with its aim of achieving inflation below but close to 2 percent over the medium term," Draghi said.

Analysts polled by Reuters last week had expected the ECB to increase the monthly purchases to 75 billion euros as well as extending the purchases.

The purchases have pushed down yields and boosted lending, indicating that quantitative easing (QE) was working, even if only slowly and with a lag, supporting calls for more asset buys.

But critics have said QE has done little for inflation so far, the ECB's biggest worry, with headline figures hovering near zero and core inflation around 1 percent, well short of the central bank's target of nearly 2 percent.

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