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ECB expands COVID-19 recovery package to help boost regional economy amid global pandemic Updated: 2020-06-05 17:08:36 KST

The European Central Bank decided Thursday to expand its COVID-19 recovery package by a whopping 600 billion euros, or about 672 billion U.S. dollars to help support the regional economy.
With this, the bank's Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program now stands at 1 trillion 3-hundred-fifty billion euros.

"The governing council decided to increase the envelope for the Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program, also known as PEP, by 600 billion euros to a total of one trillion 350 billion euros in response to the pandemic related downward revision to inflation over the projection horizon."

The new stimulus comes on the heels of added spending by European governments and similar efforts put forth by the central banks of other countries including the U.S. and Britain.
The President of the ECB explained that its governing council also decided to extend its monetary stimulus program to at least the end of June 2021, from the previous deadline of end of 2020.
This comes as the bank projects the euro-zone area economy to experience prolonged recession, shrinking by a painful 8.7 percent this year and recovering by a modest 5.2 percent in 2021.

"Incoming information confirms that the Euro area economy is experiencing an unprecedented contraction. There has been an abrupt drop in economic activity as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the measures taken to contain it. Severe job and income losses and exceptionally elevated uncertainty about the economic outlook have led to a significant fall in consumer spending and investment."

The ECB chief also cautioned that, even though lockdown measures are being eased throughout the region, a significant rebound was not yet in sight.
Euro area key interest rates stayed unchanged with its base interest rate remaining at zero percent.
The marginal lending and deposit rates remained at a quarter of a percent and minus point-five percent, respectively.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.
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