After a long wait, the European Central Bank is about to get going on its most ambitious and aggressive easing action ever: its trillion-euro quantitative-easing program.
The central bank should trickle out more details on what shape the QE will take, when ECB President Mario Draghi speaks at his regular post-meeting press conference at 1.30 p.m. London time, or 8.30 a.m. Eastern Time. Until then, here are the five most important thing we know about the scheme.
When will the QE start?
It could be any day now. ECB Executive Board member Benoît Coeuré has said the central bank will start buying bonds in the first two weeks of March, most likely after the Governing Council meeting on Thursday. And according to Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, which spoke to unnamed sources, the first purchases will take place on Monday, March 9. Expect questions on the start date at Thursday’s meeting.
What’s the aim of the QE?
The short answer: to revive growth and inflation in the eurozone. Despite a variety of attempts to spur economic recovery, the currency bloc is still grappling with painfully high unemployment, slow growth and negative inflation among its members.