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Europe's Central Bank Is in a Bind Over Bonds

Oct 19, 2016 | 09:15 GMT
At the headquarters of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, the bank's officials are mulling changes to its bond-buying regimen, which supports its quantitative easing program.
At the headquarters of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, the bank's officials are mulling changes to its bond-buying regimen, which supports its quantitative easing program.
(THOMAS LOHNES/Getty Images)

The European Central Bank (ECB) is in a bind. Since increasing its quantitative easing program in April, the institution has had to purchase 80 billion euros' worth of bonds each month to meet its self-imposed quota. But the pool of eligible bonds is shrinking and could run out before the end of the year. Meanwhile, the quantitative easing program is nearing its expiration date, set for March 2017. Soon, the ECB -- under the watchful eyes of German politicians whose electorate is growing ever warier of the central bank's policies -- will have to decide whether to extend the program. Despite the various factors complicating its decision, the ECB will probably opt to prolong its bond-buying regimen beyond March while changing its rules to increase the number of bonds eligible for purchase....

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