European Central Bank (ECB) staff presented policy makers withmodels for buying as much as 500 billion euros (US$591 billion) ofinvestment-grade assets, according to a person who attended ameeting of the Governing Council.

Various quantitative-easing (QE) options focused on governmentbonds were shown to governors on Jan. 7 in Frankfurt, includingbuying only AAA-rated debt or bonds rated at least BBB minus, theeuro-area central bank official said. Governors took no decision onthe design or implementation of any package after the presentation,according to the person and another official who attended themeeting. The people asked not to be identified because the talkswere private.

A 500 billion-euro purchase program would take the ECB halfwaytoward its goal of boosting its balance sheet to avert adeflationary spiral in the euro area. The institution is alsobuying asset-backed securities and covered bonds, and governmentbond-buying would be part of fresh stimulus to be considered at theGoverning Council's Jan. 22 meeting.

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