Taking a page from the Ben Bernanke playbook, Mario Draghi and the European Central Bank announced a bond buying program this morning to the tune of €60 billion a month through September of 2016 for a total of about €1.2 trillion. The program is an attempt to turn around Europe’s lagging economy, boosting inflation that came in at 0.2% in December.
The euro has been on a roller coaster ride since word of the bond buying program leaked yesterday (though it wasn’t entirely accurate). The currency volatility continued today. The German DAX (^GDAXI) and the French CAC (^FCHI) spent most of the day lower but ticked into positive territory on news of the program, before heading down again as Draghi continued to outline the particulars.
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In addition to the “Euro QE,” Draghi and company left the key lending rate unchanged at 0.05%.
In a press conference following the ECB meeting Mario Draghi said of the program:
“Under this expanded program the combined monthly purchases of public and private sector securities will amount to 60 billion euros…They are intended to be carried out until end-September 2016 and will in any case be conducted until we see a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation.”
But will it work? “The ECB is looking at what the Fed did and saying ‘it worked’ and that ‘we’ve got to do more of the same,'” says Jeremy Schwartz, Director of Research at Wisdom Tree. Schwartz also told Yahoo Finance that the key to this working is keeping the euro down. “A weaker euro supports the German machine. 50% of their economy is exports so if they get higher economic growth because they’re exporting a lot more with the weaker euro, that will cause wage pressure in Germany and make Spain and Italy more competitive. So that’s one of the main benefits of a weaker euro and I think you’re starting to see that play out.”
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