The European Central Bank’s massive bond purchase programme, known as quantitative easing, or QE, got off to a good start with purchases at 3.2 billion euros on the first day, a top ECB official said Tuesday.
ECB executive board member Benoit Coeure said that during Monday’s kick-off day for the programme, the ECB and the central banks of the 19 eurozone nations purchased a total 3.2 billion euros in bonds.
That put the QE programme on track to attain its monthly goal of 60 billion euros worth of buyback of public and private sector debt, he said at a seminar in Frankfurt.
The ECB’s QE scheme has already been used by the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England to stimulate their economies.
But QE has been a long time coming on mainland Europe and is regarded as the ultimate weapon in the ECB’s vast anti-deflation armoury, the culmination of a long series of unprecedented measures to bring the eurozone’s flat-lining economic recovery back to life.
The ECB hopes that by buying bonds off investors they will invest the money elsewhere, thus boosting growth and preventing a dangerous cycle of falling prices from setting in.