, FRANKFURT, Jan 9- European Central Bank staff have presented its governing council with various models for a new asset purchase programme to ward off deflation in the euro area, Bloomberg reported on Friday.
According to Bloomberg, staff presented a number of possible scenarios to purchase up to 500 billion euros ($591 billion) in investment grade assets to the ECB’s policy-setting governing council at a meeting this week.
However, governors took no decision on the design or implementation of any package after the presentation, the news agency said, quoting sources who attended the meeting.
The ECB was not immediately available to comment on the report.
ECB chief Mario Draghi said recently that the governing council has asked central bank staff to draw up possible scenarios for the launch of a policy of so-called quantitative easing (or QE) — or the large-scale purchase of sovereign bonds — to prevent the eurozone from sliding into a downward spiral of falling prices.
The policy has already been pursued by other central banks around the world to kick-start their economies. But the ECB has shied away from it so far amid fierce opposition from the likes of Germany, which sees the measure as a way to print money to pay off government debt.
According to data earlier this week, the eurozone slipped into deflationary territory for the first time since 2009 after prices dropped by 0.2 percent in December, dragged down by plummeting oil prices.
The last time consumer prices fell in October 2009 was at the height of the global financial crisis.
The inflation figures fuelled speculation that the ECB would announce some sort of QE programme at its first policy meeting of the new year on January 22.