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ECB expands its bond-buying program as coronavirus resurgence weighs on the economic recovery

European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde arrives to testify before the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee in Brussels, Belgium December 2, 2019.

Francois Lenoir | Reuters

LONDON — The European Central Bank on Thursday expanded its massive monetary stimulus program by 500 billion euros ($605 billion), as a second wave of lockdown measures weigh on the euro area’s economic recovery.

Markets had largely expected the central bank to add to its bond buying, having vowed back in October to “recalibrate its instruments” as a resurgence in coronavirus cases across the continent led to further national shutdowns.

The ECB held interest rates on its main refinancing operations, marginal lending facility and deposit facility at 0.00%, 0.25% and -0.50%, respectively.

The central bank launched its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP) in a bid to shore up the bloc’s economy in the wake of the pandemic.

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