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European Central Bank adds €600 billion to stimulus scheme

June 4, 2020

The European Central Bank will ramp up its emergency pandemic emergency simulus program by €600 billion.

European Central Bank
Image: Imago-Images/STPP

The European Central Bank on Thursday announced it would boost its pandemic support program by €600 billion ($670 billion) to a total of €1.35 trillion.

The move is an attempt to keep affordable credit flowing to the economy amid a sharp downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic

The program will now extend to at least June 2021, the bank has confirmed. It was expected to expire at the end of this year.

Interest rates remained at historic lows, with the benchmark refinancing rate at 0% and the deposit rate at -0.5%.

ECB President Christine Lagarde stressed the importance of eurozone countries working together. "An ambitious and coordinated fiscal stance remains critical in the euro economy in response to the pandemic emergency," she told reporters.

Read more: What's in the ECB's coronavirus emergency pandemic plan?

The new stimulus is an attempt to keep affordable credit flowing during the steep economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and comes on top of spending by the 19 eurozone countries' governments.

EU's von der Leyen: Aid package in everyone's interest

Bond purchases could extend to 2022

The ECB’s latest move mirrors similar emergency support by the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and the US Federal Reserve. Central banks are scrambling to cope with the sharp economic recession in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The ECB says its purchases are not aimed at supporting any particular eurozone country, but the program has so far bought a higher share of Italian bonds than any other country. Italy has been among the worst-hit countries by the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more: Coronavirus and the EU: The nation versus the union?

An ECB spokesperson suggested the pandemic emergency support program could be extended to the end of 2022, depending on when "the coronavirus crisis phase is over."

ed/rt (AP, dpa)

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