Investors have been piling into peripheral debt ahead of the ECB's expected launch of large-scale bond purchases. David Pollard asks if Mario Draghi has left it too late to achieve the boost the euro zone needs?
It's rare for investors to see eye to eye. Especially over an economic event with such big implications. SOUNDBITE (German) ANALYST WITH HAUCK & AUFHAEUSER, FIDEL HELMER, SAYING: "We expect Mr Draghi to fuel the markets with the liquidity he will create." Like most, Fidel Helmer at Germany's DAX is sure the ECB will pump extra liquidity into the euro zone. Even how much might come at the ECB's latest policy meeting is in little doubt. Five to six hundred billion euros worth of QE is the consensus. But there are question marks. Especially over the 'hows' of a programme to buy sovereign euro zone bonds - what ECB chief Mario Draghi calls the 'modalities'. Mike Ingram of BGC Partners. SOUNDBITE (English) MIKE INGRAM, MARKET COMMENTATOR, BGC PARTNERS, SAYING: ''What are they going to buy, how are they going to buy it, when are they going to buy it? And one thing in particular which is at the forefront of market thinking at the moment is to what extent are we going to see risk-sharing or pooling, across the euro system?'' One possible scenario: the ECB itself might not buy bonds. Individual nation's central banks would do it. That would limit risk, the argument goes, though there are plenty of detractors. And a feeling among investors that a watered-down QE programme would work like a damp firework. But Germany is opposed to full-blown QE. Its chancellor playing down the significance of the ECB decision. (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR, ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING: "I would not speak of a fateful week for the euro. I always said we have not fully overcome the euro crisis. That was true last week, that was true in the last week of 2014 and that is true this week as well." Ahead of the decision, Europe's been buying on the rumour of what might happen. Stock markets nudging seven-year highs - plus a rush of demand into euro zone peripheral bonds. Could it sell on the fact - amid a feeling that whatever the ECB does, it's not enough? SOUNDBITE (English) MIKE INGRAM, MARKET COMMENTATOR, BGC PARTNERS, SAYING: ''There was a period of time, mid 2012, Draghi: ''do whatever it takes''. They gained the initiative, then was asleep at the wheel for over two years. So go in, go in hard, and don't look back. Unfortunately, that's not what the ECB's done.'' In the words of one analyst, fingers crossed then that the best is yet to come.