Bank of Italy says ECB considering extending QE, not tapering it

November 7, 2016 6:58 AM EST

Pedestrians walk past the headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt, Germany September 8, 2016. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

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ROME (Reuters) - The European Central Bank is not considering reducing its bond-buying program known as Quantitative Easing, and is looking instead at how far to extend it after the current March 2017 deadline, the Bank of Italy said on Monday.

Luigi Signorini, a member of the Italian central bank's executive board, was asked during testimony to parliament whether the ECB was looking at how to taper QE.

"There is no prospect of this," Signorini replied. "The question is how much to extend the limits that were given."

Facing stubbornly low inflation, the ECB is expected to decide in December whether to extend its 80 billion euro ($88.5 billion) per month asset buys beyond March, having to balance diminishing costs with increasing side effects.

(reporting by Giuseppe Fonte, writing by Gavin Jones, editing by Isla Binnie)

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