European Central Bank to End Stimulus

European Central Bank to End Stimulus

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- The European Central Bank is expected to halt the stimulus program that it deployed nearly four years ago to nurture a teetering eurozone economy back to health.

Analysts say the bank is likely to confirm Thursday its plan to stop the program's monthly bond purchases at year end despite worries about growth. The program pumped 2.6 billion euros ($3 billion) into the economy of the 19 countries that use the euro.

Attention will turn to President Mario Draghi's news conference for clues about whether the bank might postpone its first interest rate increase.

Draghi has credited the stimulus and low rates with creating 9.5 million jobs while Europe's economy healed from a debt crisis that threatened to break up the euro. But critics in Germany say it bailed out fiscally wobbly governments.

(KA)