RIGA — The European Central Bank said Thursday that its monthly net bond buying will stop at the end of December “subject to incoming data.”
But before that, the ECB will first cut the monthly purchases to €15 billion from €30 billion, starting in October.
At the same time, the ECB said it intends to “maintain its policy of reinvesting the principal payments from maturing securities purchased” for “an extended period of time after the end of the net asset purchases, and in any case for as long as necessary.”
The bond-buying program, which has provided around €2.5 trillion in extra cash to eurozone economies, is intended to help the ECB maintain an inflation rate that is below, but close to 2 percent. Annual inflation in the eurozone was 1.9 percent in May.
The ECBs governing council, meanwhile, decided to keep the benchmark interest rate on the deposit facility at -0.4 percent and said it expects “the key ECB interest rates to remain at their present levels at least through the summer of 2019 and in any case for as long as necessary.”
Market watchers widely expected Thursdays announcement in the Latvian capital of Riga, where ECB President Mario Draghi met with eurozone central bankers.