NEW YORK (AFP) - The euro dived to an 11-year low on Thursday after the European Central Bank launched a massive bond-buying programme aimed at pulling the euro zone out of near-stagnation and ultra-low inflation.
The ECB said it would inject more than one trillion euros (S$1.54 trillion) of stimulus into the euro zone economy beginning in March.
ECB chief Mario Draghi said the bank would buy 60 billion euros of mostly sovereign bonds per month through at least September 2016.
The euro dived to US$1.1316 after the ECB news, its lowest level since September 2003 and down more than two percent against the greenback.
Wells Fargo analyst Nick Bennenbroek expressed "surprise at the extent of the fall" in the euro since investors had widely expected a strong stimulus.
But the ECB action was more aggressive than the 50 billion euro pace expected.
The move came after euro zone inflation turned negative in December, stoking fears that the 19-nation euro zone is on the brink of a dangerous deflationary spiral of falling prices.
"'Disappointment' is a phrase you've probably heard associated with the ECB in recent months, as market participants have been left disappointed by the lack of substantive policy decisions undertaken to fight the region's low growth, disinflationary rut," said Mr Christopher Vecchio, currency analyst at DailyFX.
"Yet today, despite all of the hoopla around the ECB for the past six weeks, president Mario Draghi delivered."
Nomura analysts said the ECB programme, in terms of its amount and duration, suggests "potential for renewed pressure on the euro".