ECB minutes highlight QE delay risks

ECB headquarters Image copyright EPA
Image caption ECB profits fell by almost a third in 2014

The first-ever minutes from the European Central Bank (ECB) reveal that chief economist Peter Praet warned members of the hazards of delaying the introduction of quantitative easing.

He said the risk from inaction might be higher than the risks of taking action.

The publication of the minutes, from the behind-closed-doors January meeting, brings it into line with other big central banks.

The ECB calls the published record an "account" rather than minutes.

On the 22 January the ECB launched its QE programme, designed to inject at least €1.1 trillion (£834bn) into the ailing eurozone economy.

It said it would buy €60bn bonds each month from banks until the end of September 2016, or even longer.

Meanwhile, on Thursday the bank also revealed that its 2014 profits fell by almost a third to €989m ($1.1bn; £730m) from €1.44bn.

It said net profits declined as a result of lower income in the current low-interest-rates environment, as well as due to higher operating expenses after it became the eurozone banking supervisor late last year.

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