Europe

Duration of eurozone stimulus in focus as central bank meets

FILE - In this Monday, Sept. 26, 2016 file photo, Governor of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi pauses during a session of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee at the European Parliament in Brussels. Investors will sift European Central Bank head Mario Draghi’s remarks on Thursday, Oct. 20. 2016 for clues about a possible extension of its 1.74 trillion euro ($1.91 trillion) bond-buying stimulus program. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)

FILE - In this Monday, Sept. 26, 2016 file photo, Governor of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi pauses during a session of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee at the European Parliament in Brussels. Investors will sift European Central Bank head Mario Draghi’s remarks on Thursday, Oct. 20. 2016 for clues about a possible extension of its 1.74 trillion euro ($1.91 trillion) bond-buying stimulus program. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)  (The Associated Press)

Investors will look for clues about whether the European Central Bank will extend its 1.74 trillion euro ($1.91 trillion) bond-buying stimulus program beyond its earliest end date of March, 2017.

Analysts say the bank is not likely to announce a decision at Thursday's meeting of its 25-member governing council, or to change its main interest rate benchmark, currently at a record low of zero. Any action is considered more likely in December.

ECB President Mario Draghi's remarks at his post-meeting news conference will be scrutinized for hints about the possibility of extending the 80 billion euros in monthly purchases. The purchases pump new money into the financial system. The aim is to increasing inflation from its current annual 0.4 percent, far below the bank's goal of just under 2 percent.