German central bank chief questions bond buys, arguing cheap oil is stimulus for Europe

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BERLIN — The president of Germany's central bank is questioning the need for the European Central Bank to embark on a new bond-buying program when the continent is being "gifted a stimulus program" by low oil prices.

The ECB is considering whether and how to offer more stimulus for the sluggish eurozone economy, perhaps in the form of large-scale purchases of government bonds — not a popular idea in Germany.

Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann, a member of the ECB governing council, told Sunday's Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper that German growth forecasts for next year don't reflect the extent of the oil price fall — so growth could be better than expected.

He said of possible bond purchases: "We are being gifted a stimulus program, so why top it with monetary policy?"

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