German central bank chief questions bond buys, arguing cheap oil is stimulus for Europe

Industries Associated Press

The president of Germany's central bank is questioning the need for the European Central Bank to embark on a new bond-buying program when the continent is being "gifted a stimulus program" by low oil prices.

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The ECB is considering whether and how to offer more stimulus for the sluggish eurozone economy, perhaps in the form of large-scale purchases of government bonds — not a popular idea in Germany.

Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann, a member of the ECB governing council, told Sunday's Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper that German growth forecasts for next year don't reflect the extent of the oil price fall — so growth could be better than expected.

He said of possible bond purchases: "We are being gifted a stimulus program, so why top it with monetary policy?"