European Central Bank stimulus plan meets 1st month goal
The European Central Bank’s 1.1 trillion euro (US$1.2 trillion) stimulus program is off to a running start.
The central bank said Tuesday it has met its monthly goal of purchasing 60 billion euros in government and private-sector bonds, the first stage of an effort that is to last into next year.
The bond purchases, which pump newly printed money into the financial system, have widespread significance for markets, investors and the economy. The program is aimed at raising consumer price inflation from a worrisome negative 0.1 percent annually. It should also support the gradual economic recovery that has been taking hold, and help reduce unemployment. The jobless rate for the eurozone is a high 11.3 percent.
The ECB said that since launching the effort March 9, it had bought 52.52 billion euros in bonds issued by EU governments or euroarea supranational institutions such as the eurozone’s collective rescue fund for troubled countries. The 60-billion-euro goal was reached by additional purchases of privatesector bonds.
The ECB is the chief monetary authority for the 19 countries that use the shared euro. It has recently underlined its determination to carry out the full amount in purchases through September 2016 and beyond if necessary, even though the economy has shown signs of improvement.
Effects of the purchases began taking hold even before they started, as financial market participants moved to anticipate them. Key signs include a sharply weaker euro and falling borrowing costs for eurozone governments. Surveys of business confidence have improved and major European stock indexes rallied during the first quarter.