The spotlight shines on Mario Draghi once again. As the European Central Bank prepares for its latest policy meeting this week, its president has to reconcile an economic dichotomy of robust growth with weak inflation, a dilemma exacerbated by a seemingly unstoppable rise in the euro. Ciara Lee reports.
Trillions of dollars have been funnelled into the wold economy by central banks since the global financial crisis. And as the ECB approaches its hotly anticipated policy meeting this week the question dominating... When will it put the breaks on years of super-easy money? After all, the euro zone is seeing its strongest run of growth in more than a decade. And while inflation has lagged - the latest data has been higher than expected According to a Reuters poll, a QE cutback could come in October. The majority of ecnomists also said they expect the bank to shut down the programme by the end of next year. But not everyone is convinced. (SOUNDBITE) BGC MARKET STRATEGIST, MIKE INGRAM, SAYING: "If by the end of QE you mean a sudden cessation of the asset purchase programme which is currently running at 60 billion euros per month, of course that's absolutely not on the cards. And I think if that were it then you might be looking at rather radically different market pricing at the moment." There are concerns from policymakers themselves too. ECB Vice President Vitor Constancio has said lifting euro zone inflation might be more difficult than earlier expected. It's already missing the ECB's target of almost 2 percent for more than 4 years a further delay could fuel arguments for extended ECB stimulus The ECB has another issue on its hands too - a strenghtening euro - up over 12 percent this year against the dollar. A rising exchange rate tends to push down import prices, further weakening inflation. The ECB has signalled a change in its asset purchases will likely come "this autumn". Although no major breakthroughs are expected until after the German federal elections later in the month.