ECB poised to buy up €50bn worth of bonds every month as part of QE programme

The total size of the scheme is put at €600bn

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The Independent Online

All eyes are on Frankfurt, where the European Central Bank is poised to announce a large scale quantitative easing programme for the first time in its history.

Reports overnight suggest at an early afternoon press conference, the ECB will unveil a plan to buy up €50 billion worth of bonds every month as part of its programme intended to lower borrowing costs and ease deflation.

There are varying expectations for the length of the programme but it is thought it could start as early as March and will last at least one year.

The total size of the scheme is put at €600 billion, but if it ran until the end of 2016, it could surpass €1 trillion, Reuters reported.

The ECB said last month it intended to swell its balance sheet by roughly €1 trillion to €3 trillion, according to the FT.

The final details of the plan will be ironed out when the central bank's 25-strong Governing Council meets again ahead of the press conference.

The ECB has is pursuing QE despite resistance from Germany, where there are concerns that monetary easing could allow some countries to ease up on their economic reforms.

But having already slashed interest rates to record lows, bought up private sector assets and lent hundreds of billions of euros cheaply to banks to stimulate lending, QE is thought to be its last major policy option.

And with the eurozone entering deflationary territory for the first time since 2009 earlier this month, the pressure to crank up the printing presses has been heightened further.

There are some doubts the plan will be successful though, with economists at Morgan Stanley and Citi both sceptical about its power, CityAM reported. Barclays, however, think it could work, the newspaper said.