October 26, 2017 / 1:28 PM / in a year

ECB's Draghi says capacity there to extend asset buys if needed

European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi holds a news conference following the governing council's interest rate decision at the ECB headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, October 26, 2017. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The way the European Central Bank plans to manage its asset purchase program means it will retain the capacity to extend it further should the need arise, its President Mario Draghi said on Thursday.

The central bank’s Thurdsay decision to extend the massive program through the first nine months of 2018 at a reduced rate of 30 billion euros a month sharpened concerns in the market that it might run short of some categories of sovereign bonds to buy.

But Draghi said the program, which the ECB said it was maintaining the option to increase or extend further should economic conditions dictate, was flexible enough to cope.

“We can adjust its size. We can carry through smoothly, and that’s been the evidence we have given until now. And the (ECB’s) Governing Council is committed to that,” he told a post-policy meeting news conference.

“This time of course we are also going to have the reinvestments of the maturing securities... So in terms of our capacity to have a monetary policy stance which will support the sustained inflation objective we are well-placed.”

Writing by John Stonestreet; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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