Mario Draghi
ECB surprises with rate cuts, new stimulus plan

FRANKFURT, Germany — Trying to salvage a weak recovery, the European Central Bank on Thursday cut interest rates and announced a new economic stimulus program that involves buying financial assets. The chief monetary authority for the 18 countries that use the euro cut its benchmark interest rate from 0.15 to 0.05 percent, a new record low. The step reduces the costs banks pay when they borrow from the ECB. Lower rates stimulate more lending and growth. But companies are finding credit hard to get even with low rates. So the ECB turned to more drastic measures and also announced a program to buy private-sector bonds. The aim is to make credit cheaper and easier to get, helping...