Finance: The European Central Bank just called time on its $3 trillion stimulus programme

Mario Draghi

The European Central Bank has been buying bonds for several years, but it's about to stop, and it's a huge moment for global markets.

The European Central Bank announced on Thursday that it will bring to an end the near $3 trillion bond buying programme it has undertaken since the eurozone debt crisis.

Bond purchases are currently running at a maximum of €30 billion per month, but will be lowered to €15 billion per month from September, before being completely stopped at the end of December.

“The Governing Council anticipates that, after September 2018, subject to incoming data confirming the Governing Council’s medium-term inflation outlook, the monthly pace of the net asset purchases will be reduced to €15 billion until the end of December 2018 and that net purchases will then end,” the ECB said in a statement.

Elsewhere, the central bank left its interest rates unchanged, meaning a deposit rate of -0.4%.

At 1.30 p.m. BST (8.30 a.m. ET) the ECB’s president, Mario Draghi, will take questions from the media.

The ECB shifts its policy meeting from Frankfurt to a euro zone capital once a year and Thursday’s gathering is being held in Riga. Somewhat unfortunately, Latvia is currently unable to vote in ECB meetings, thanks to a legal dispute involving the governor of its central bank.

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