French President François Hollande said Monday the European Central Bank will announce plans to buy eurozone sovereign debt later this week, reinforcing expectations the Frankfurt-based institution will follow other major central banks into so-called quantitative easing.
“On Thursday, the ECB will take the decision to buy sovereign debt, which will provide significant liquidity to the European economy and create a movement that is favorable to growth,” Hollande said in a speech to business leaders at the Élysée Palace.
The comments from the French leader were surprising as they appear to foretell the action of the ECB, which fiercely guards its independence from governments. Still, analysts do widely expect the ECB to announce plans to buy sovereign debt Thursday as other measures to stimulate the eurozone economy have failed to lift inflation from super low levels.
An ECB spokesman declined to comment, noting that the ECB’s meeting is on Thursday.
Hollande made the remark midway through a speech outlining the outlook for France’s economy. He pointed to a variety of external factors that could boost the sluggish economy, including the slump in oil prices and a weakening of the euro.
The French leader also said the country shouldn’t depend solely on the decisions of the ECB and other external factors to boost its sluggish economy. France must also continue with measures to boost production and overhaul its labor market, he said.