ECB May Deliver $635 Billion to Steer Euro Away From Deflation

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ECB President Draghi addresses a news conference at the European parliament in Brussels

By Alessandro

Mario Draghi is likely to announce a 550 billion-euro ($640 billion) bond-purchase program this week and won’t skimp too much on the details, economists say.

The European Central Bank president will make his biggest push yet to steer the euro area away from deflation by announcing quantitative easing on Jan. 22, according to 93 percent of respondents in a Bloomberg News survey. The median estimate of the size of the package tops the 500 billion euros in models presented to officials this month.

Draghi’s goal at a press conference after the Governing Council gathers will be to convince investors he has a strategy big and bold enough to reinvigorate the moribund economy. Speculation over his plans has already sent the euro to an 11-year low, with the fund flows probably contributing to the Swiss National Bank’s shock decision to end a cap on the franc.

“Market expectations now are stellar,” said Attilio Bertini, head of research at Credito Valtellinese SC in Sondrio, Italy. There must be “no disappointment” and “the ECB’s next move should be pervasive, risk-transferring and long-lasting,” he said.

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