The European Central Bank is all but certain to keep policy unchanged on Thursday but with the economic recovery losing momentum and a strong euro dampening already-anaemic inflation expectations, it may set the stage for more stimulus later. Having pulled out the stops this spring to halt a historic economic decline across the 19-country currency bloc, the ECB has time to let governments implement their own countermeasures and for its own ultra-easy policy to seep into the real economy. But hurdles to the rebound from a 12% output drop in the second quarter are proving bigger than expected, and economists say the ECB will eventually be forced into taking more action, possibly as soon as December. Surveys indicate that a recent resurgence in coronavirus infections is sapping investor and consumer confidence, with many fearing fresh restrictions on ordinary life. But more importantly for the ECB, inflation has turned negative, raising the risk that longer term price growth expectations also take a hit, leading to a hard-to-reverse downward spiral. This is crucial for the ECB, which has undershot its nearly 2% inflation target for the past seven years, casting doubt on the credibility of a policy that is radical, yet fails to achieve its objective. Compounding ECB’s problem, the euro has firmed 8% against the dollar since the spring and more than 4% against a basket of currencies weighted by the bloc’s foreign trade.