ECB Adds Half a Trillion Euros in Stimulus

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -
The euro sign sculpture is pictured in front of the building that used to host the headquarters of the European Central Bank ( ECB ) in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, on January 26, 2015, a day after the results of the general elections in Greece, won by the radical leftist Syriza party. Its 40-year-old leader Alexis Tsipras has vowed to end austerity policies and renegotiate the country's debt, putting him on a collision course with other European leaders, particularly German Chancellor Angela Merkel. AFP PHOTO / DANIEL ROLAND (Photo credit should read DANIEL ROLAND/AFP/Getty Images)
The euro sign sculpture is pictured in front of the building that used to host the headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany. (DANIEL ROLAND/AFP/Getty Images)

The European Central Bank has decided to extend its bond-buying stimulus program by another nine months to support the economy amid increasing turbulence from populist politics.

The chief monetary authority for the 19 countries that use the euro said Thursday that after March it would keep buying bonds, but at a reduced rate of €60 billion ($64 billion) a month. Currently, it is buying €80 billion per month through March.

That adds at least €540 billion in stimulus to the existing €1.74 billion ($1.87 trillion) effort.

The ECB purchases, which have been running since March, 2015, pump freshly created money into the banking system in hopes of increasing weak inflation and boosting growth. The move also helps keep markets calmer as Europe faces elections in the Netherlands and France next year where anti-EU, populist candidates are expected to do well.