The battle over whether to start quantitative easing in the euro region is all but won, economists say. More than 90 percent of respondents in Bloomberg’s monthly survey predict the European Central Bank will begin large-scale buying of government bonds next year, up from 57 percent last month. An announcement will most likely come in the first quarter, with any decision taken against the objections of some policy makers, the poll of 55 economists showed.
With less than six weeks to go before the ECB’s next monetary-policy meeting, President Mario Draghi’s drive to corner dissent on more stimulus is taking on added urgency. Plunging oil prices threaten to tip the 18-nation economy into deflation, and banks are showing little appetite to use cheap central-bank cash to boost lending.
“There is no doubt that the ECB will scale up its expansionary policies — it’s just a matter of timing,” said Duncan de Vries, an economist at NICB Bank NV in The Hague. “The ECB will remain under huge pressure to protect its credibility and fulfill its price-stability mandate.”
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