European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi and Vice President Vitor Constancio (L) leave after addressing an ECB news conference in Frankfurt January 22, 2015. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
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The European Central Bank took the ultimate policy leap Thursday, launching a government bond-buying program which will pump hundreds of billions of new money into the sagging eurozone economy.The ECB said it would buy government bonds from this March until the end of September 2016 despite opposition from Germany's Bundesbank and concerns in Berlin that it could allow spendthrift countries to slacken economic reforms.Together with existing schemes to buy private debt and funnel hundreds of billions of euros in cheap loans to banks, the new quantitative easing (QE) program will pump 60 billion euros ($68.8 billion) a month into the economy, ECB President Mario Draghi said. Bonds will be bought on the secondary market in proportion to the ECB's capital key, meaning the largest economies from Germany down will see more of their debt purchased by the ECB than smaller peers.The ECB has already cut interest rates to record lows.
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