The European Central Bank (ECB) will stop its €2.4tn bond buying programme scheme by the end of the year, it announced last Thursday. The step, however, would not mean rapid policy tightening in the coming months, it added. The macroeconomic conditions in the 19-member bloc are considered positive for ending of the stimulus. Eurozone growth was at its highest since 2007 in 2017, at 2.3%, while unemployment fell to its lowest levels in 10 years, 8.5%, this March. But the situation is not unambiguous and the effects will not be felt equally among all members.
At the same time, the bank signalled that any interest rate hike is still distant due to the uncertainties in the Eurozone economy. “The Governing Council expects the key ECB interest rates to remain at their present levels at least through the summer of 2019, and in any case for as long as necessary to ensure that the evolution of inflation remains aligned with the current expectations of a sustained adjustment path,” the ECB stated.