The European Central Bank (ECB) will kick off its 60 billion euro-a-month ($66.3 billion) bond purchases on March 9, ECB President Mario Draghi said Thursday, after it decided to keep rates at record lows. The central bank also upped its growth forecasts after better economic news from the euro zone, while cutting its inflation forecast for 2015.
After a spate of encouraging economic data, including signs that business activity is accelerating, the ECB hiked its growth estimate to 1.5 percent for 2015, up from 1 percent in December last year. It expects gross domestic product (GDP) to expand by 1.9 percent in 2016 and 2.1 percent in 2017.
The ECB also revised its inflation forecast for this year to 0 percent, down from its previous 2015 inflation forecast of 0.7 percent, but raised the 2016 forecast to 1.5 percent from 1.3 percent. It comes after the region’s annual inflation rate turned negative in December 2014, falling to minus 0.2 percent.
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