ECB To Begin Tapering Amount Of Bond Buying In April

By Carla Mozee Markets MarketWatch Pulse

The European Central Bank will begin to taper the amount of monthly bond purchases it makes starting in April 2017, policy makers said Thursday. The central bank said it will buy €60 billion in bonds each month until the end of December 2017, "or beyond, if necessary, and in any case until the Governing Council sees a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation consistent with its inflation aim." The ECB's targets inflation of near 2%. If "the outlook becomes less favorable or if financial conditions become inconsistent with further progress towards a sustained adjustment of the path of inflation, the Governing Council intends to increase the program in terms of size and/or duration," it said in a statement. The ECB currently buys €80 billion in bonds a month and will continue to do so until March 2017. The ECB kept interest rates unchanged, as widely expected, leaving the deposit rate at negative 0.4% and the refinancing rate at 0%. The focus now turns to ECB President Mario Draghi's news conference, set for 1:30 p.m. London time, or 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

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