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European Central Bank launches new bond purchase program



Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank (ECB), attends a press conference on the outcome of the ECB Governing Council meeting in Frankfurt am Main on 7 March 2019.

Kai Pfaffenbach | Reuters

The European Central Bank (ECB) announced on Thursday a massive new bond purchase program to boost the troubled Eurozone economy.

President Mario Draghi announced that the central bank will lower its key interest rate by 1

0 basis points to -0.5%, in line with expectations. The ECB now expects interest rates to remain at their current or lower levels until the inflation outlook "converges steadily to a sufficiently close but below 2% level in their projection horizon".

The ECB has also changed the TLTRO rate to create more favorable conditions for lending to banks and to reach the refinancing rate, which removed an earlier spread of 10 basis points. In line with market expectations, the ECB also introduced a spread of interest rates, which was supported by the heads of several major European banks in the last winning season.

The Fed's quantitative easing program will cost EUR 20 billion per month to acquire assets as long as it is deemed necessary.

Markets had generally expected some form of stimulus package, although hawks in the Governing Council of the ECB had been trying in recent weeks to downplay the scale of the forthcoming measures.

A The slowdown in the eurozone economy, persistently low inflation and the US-China trade wars had all indicated that the central bank was forced to set incentives despite some continuing industrial weakness.

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