U.S. Markets

ECB's Coeure sees 'reasonable chance' bond buys will not be extended

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. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The man in charge of carrying out the European Central Bank’s bond purchases sees “a reasonable chance” the 2.55 trillion euros stimulus program will not be extended again when it expires in September, he told a Chinese financial magazine.

Benoit Coeure, the ECB board member in charge of its market operations, was once a key supporter of President Mario Draghi’s ultra-easy policy but has been opening the door to an eventual withdrawal of stimulus in recent months.

“Given what we see in the economy, I believe that there is a reasonable chance that the extension of our asset purchase program decided in October can be the last,” Coeure told Caixin Global.

He said the ECB could keep the program in place if needed but also had “plenty of instruments with which to react” if inflation in the euro zone, currently seen below 2 percent for years to come, turned out higher than expected.

Reporting by Francesco Canepa; Editing by Alison Williams