ECB sticks with easy monetary policies

The European Central Bank has kept businesses afloat during the pandemic, buying bonds to keep interest rates low. But ECB officials have decided to slow the pace of their stimulus.

Bank leaders set up a program in March 2020 to buy 2.2 trillion dollars in bonds. Lately, they have been buying almost 100 billion dollars in bonds a month. They will reduce their purchases but keep the program running through March.

ECB President Christine Lagarde said the economy has largely reopened, allowing consumers to spend more. She pointed out that more than 70 percent of European adults are fully vaccinated.

ECB analysts said they would monitor inflation, production bottlenecks, and a surge in consumption. They expect output will exceed pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year.