The European Central Bank (ECB) is to extend its stimulus programme to September next year but cut asset purchases by half.
Financial markets were expecting eurozone policymakers to signal at least a gradual withdrawal of quantitative easing, with the Bank’s bond-buying providing more than $2tn in financial support to economic recovery to date.
The ECB said it would maintain asset purchases at their current level of €60bn per month until December.
But it said the scheme would be cut to €30bn monthly during 2018 until September at least.
Its main interest rates were left unchanged.
The Bank has been buying corporate and government bonds with the twin aims of using the proceeds to drive economic activity and therefore raise inflation.
While inflation has remained stubbornly low, economic growth has gained momentum this year leaving the bank under pressure to roll back on its support for lending.
The announcement saw the euro fall by 0.4% against both the dollar and sterling while stock markets gained as the decision signalled the era of cheap money – which has helped drive indices to record levels – was not over yet.