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The European Central Bank (ECB) has announced plans to carry out an expanded quantitative easing (QE) programme, involving the purchase of government bonds. Specifically, the ECB is expected to boost its balance sheet by €60 billion per month beginning in March 2015 and lasting until at least September 2016. If the programme finishes in September 2016, it will have increased the ECB’s balance sheet by over €1 trillion. This is expected to increase the ECB’s assets as a percentage of GDP back towards the level it reached in mid-2012 (see Figure 2), as a result of bond purchases through the Securities Markets Programme (SMP) and the longer-term refinancing operations (LTROs).