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ECB agrees landmark sovereign bond-buy plan

European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi addresses an ECB news conference in Frankfurt January 22, 2015. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The European Central Bank agreed on Thursday to embark on a quantitative easing (QE) programme, which together with its existing schemes will pump 60 billion euros a month into the euro zone economy from this March until September next year.

Countries under a bailout programme, such as Greece, will be included but with some additional criteria.

The ECB is launching the programme with a view to buoying the flagging euro zone economy, where inflation has turned negative and - at minus 0.2 percent - is far below the central bank's target of just under 2 percent.

"Under this expanded programme the combined monthly purchases of public and private sector securities will amount to 60 billion euros," ECB President Mario Draghi said at a news conference.

"They are intended to be carried out until end-September 2016 and will in any case be conducted until we see a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation."

(This story corrects first paragraph to include existing schemes)

(Writing by Paul Carrel Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)