ECB says its massive bond-buying program will likely end in December

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The European Central Bank (ECB) outlined plans to end its massive stimulus program by the end of this year, but keep interest rates steady until next summer.

The bank said Thursday that if incoming data followed its forecasts, then its monthly bond purchase program would be extended through to the final quarter of the year, though at a lower pace. This means the program would likely end in December if the euro zone economy remained resilient.

Until now, this quantitative easing (QE) program was scheduled to last until September, carrying monthly purchases of 30 billion euros ($35 billion) of government and private debt. This will now be reduced to 15 billion euros during the last three months of 2018.

Furthermore, the ECB also indicated that a rate hike is unlikely to come before the summer of 2019, again depending on data.

“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,” the ECB said in its statement.

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