The ECB details the small print of its 1 trillion euros-plus bond buying plan - and offers a more upbeat outlook for the euro zone economy. As David Pollard reports, ECB officials were greeted by protests as they arrived in Cyprus for their monthly meeting.
Europe's monetary Mr Fixit he may be. He's no Mr Popular here. These protesters in Cyprus mourn the loss of key public services. Killed off, they say, by the strict EU bailout conditions of the island's banking crisis. Something ECB chief Mario Draghi may hope will never repeat itself. SOUNDBITE (English) MARIO DRAGHI, PRESIDENT, ECB, SAYING: ''We will, on 9 March 2015, start purchasing euro-denominated public sector securities in the secondary market.'' Along with a rates decision - no change - Draghi and his team were in Cyprus to give the small print of their bond buying programme or QE. It'll go on until September of next year at least - up to a total of over one trillion euros. More is available for longer if needed. David Stubbs of JP Morgan says it may well be. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DAVID STUBBS, GLOBAL MARKET STRATEGIST, JP MORGAN, SAYING: ''The ECB's action is going to go the full 18 months that they laid out, and is probably likely to continue after that, because the situation is that a huge amount of slack in the economy exists and it's going to take a while for both the policy action and the market moves you've already seen to use that up.'' Also outlined: the ECB's new forecasts. Growth is revised upwards for this year and next. Inflation revised down this year - but crucially, not seen going negative. Recent data does point to an economy improving - if not, judging by the latest sharp drop in German industrial orders, fully fit yet. And sinking inflation has meant a cheaper euro - it's been touching eleven-year lows. Sliding oil prices too may be doing Draghi's work for him. (SOUNDBITE) (English): DAVID STUBBS, GLOBAL MARKET STRATEGIST, JP MORGAN, SAYING: ''The euro moving lower is certainly stimulative for the euro zone economy and for equity earnings. I think that relates to a lot of what Draghi's done, I think it's part of what he wanted to do. And certainly oil, in the short-term exacerbates these deflationary pressures that we've seen, but very soon I believe we're going to see a positive stimulation to consumption.'' For Greece, Draghi confirmed a rise in the emergency lending limit for banks there by half a billion euros. But adding that its banks were solvent. Total ECB lending to Greece has, he confirmed, doubled over the last two months to a total 100 billion euros. One remaining unknown is whether the ECB can find enough bonds to buy when banks are trying to hold to top tier assets If it can't, the QE programme itself risks becoming another victim on the EU casualty list.