The European Central Bank on Thursday cut its key lending rate to zero, pushed its deposit rate further into negative territory and significantly expanded the size and scope of its asset-buying program. ECB policy makers cut the bank's key lending rate, known as the refi rate, to zero from 0.05% and pushed the rate on its deposit facility to minus 0.4% from minus 0.3%. The central bank also announced it would expand the size of its monthly bond purchases to 80 billion euros from its current level of 60 billion euros beginning in April and would include purchases of investment-grade, euro-denominated, non-bank corporate bonds. The ECB also said it would launch a new series of longer-term refinancing operations with maturities of four years.
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