March 18, 2020 / 11:01 PM / 12 days ago

ECB launches 750 billion euro emergency bond purchase scheme

FRANKFURT, March 18 (Reuters) - The European Central Bank launched a 750 billion euro ($818 billion) emergency bond purchase programme on Wednesday to push down borrowing costs in a bloc struggling with the economic fallout of coronavirus, it said in a statement.

“Purchases will be conducted until the end of 2020 and will include all the asset categories eligible under the existing asset purchase programme,” the ECB said after an emergency meeting late on Wednesday, less than a week after policymakers approved fresh stimulus measures.

The scheme will also include debt from Greece, which has so far been shut out of ECB bond purchases due to its low credit rating.

The scheme, which will end when the “crisis phase” of the epidemic is over, will also include non-financial commercial paper with sufficient credit quality, the ECB said. ($1 = 0.9169 euros) (Reporting by Balazs Koranyi and Francesco Canepa Editing by Chris Reese)

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