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ECB's Draghi: QE will end in Dec. despite dat

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi defended the bank’s move to start phasing out its easy-money policies against criticism from European lawmakers that it is moving too soon as eurozone economic growth slows.

The central bank has been treading a cautious path in recent months, seeking to start winding down its EUR2.6 trillion bond-buying program, known as quantitative easing or QE, without spooking international investors. The program is widely credited with bolstering growth in the 19-nation eurozone economy, which outpaced the U.S. over the past two years.

So far, Mr. Draghi and his top officials have avoided causing any “taper tantrum” in financial markets, similar to that unleashed when the Federal Reserve wound down its own bond-buying programs four years ago. But the ECB is phasing out its giant stimulus program at an awkward time — just as the currency union posts its slowest growth rate in about four years, and as borrowing costs jump in Italy, the bloc’s number-three economy, which is clashing with the European Union over its budget.

Speaking at the European Parliament in Brussels, Mr. Draghi confirmed that the ECB would likely phase out QE after next month. The decision is likely to be formalized at the ECB’s next policy meeting on Dec. 13. For some European politicians, the end of QE can’t come fast enough. Officials in Germany and the Netherlands have complained for years about the ECB’s ultralow interest rates, which they worry hurt savers, pensioners and banks. Gerolf Annemans, a right-wing politician from Belgium, accused the ECB of artificially supporting certain business sectors, hurting banks and creating asset-price bubbles.

ECB’s Draghi: QE will end in Dec. despite data, MarketWatch, Nov 27
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