November 21, 2017 / 5:20 PM / a year ago

ECB's Coeure expects bond-buying pledge to be dropped by Sept

FILE PHOTO - Benoit Coeure, board member of the European Central Bank (ECB), is photographed during an interview with Reuters journalists at the ECB headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, May 17, 2017. Picture taken May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The man in charge of the European Central Bank’s money-printing program expects the ECB to drop by next September its pledge to continue buying bonds until inflation heads towards its target, he told a German newspaper.

The ECB decided to cut the pace of its bond purchases to 30 billion euros ($35 billion) per month at its October meeting but pledged to continue the stimulus program until it is confident that inflation was “consistent with its inflation aim” of just under 2 percent.

But Benoit Coeure, the ECB director in charge of its market operations, expected this part of the policy message to change by September, the earliest possible end-date for the purchases set by the ECB last month.

“We were not ready to make that change in October, but I expect it will come at some point between now and September 2018,” Coeure said in an interview with Handelsblatt published on Tuesday.

Inflation in the euro zone was 1.4 percent last month. It has missed the ECB’s target for 3-1/2 years and is expected to continue doing so at least until 2019, according to the ECB’s own forecasts.

($1 = 0.8516 euros)

Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by John Stonestreet and Hugh Lawson

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