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ECB Braces for QE

Greek funding and quantitative easing in Europe, an expected rate cut in Australia and the buoyant U.S. labor market are set to be the focus of an economic week dominated by a host of central bank meetings.  Greece may have secured an extension of its bailout last week, but it remains reliant on emergency funding.

The European Central Bank’s Governing Council convenes in Cyprus on Thursday and may take a decision on whether to accept Greek government bonds as collateral for its direct ECB funding, which it stopped doing at the start of February.  If the ECB does not – and it most likely will not – it could be forced to prolong the provision of Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) to the Greek central bank.

“The Greek question will be a hot topic,” said ING Chief Eurozone Economist Peter Vanden Houte. “(Greek Finance Minister Yanis) Varoufakis has been saying the country is counting on the ECB for finances over the next few months.”  ECB President Mario Draghi is also expected to provide further details on the bank’s 1 trillion euro ($1.1 trillion) government bond buying program, which begins in March.

Reuters [1]

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