The European Central Bank stepped up buying of covered bonds in an attempt to boost consumer prices and rekindle growth in the euro-area economy.
The outstanding amount of covered bonds purchased under the Frankfurt-based institution’s program rose by 3.075 billion euros ($3.85 billion) last week to 4.779 billion euros, data on the ECB’s website showed.
The purchase plan, which is set to broaden before the end of the month to include asset-backed securities, is part of ECB President Mario Draghi’s extensive stimulus package that also includes targeted bank loans and record-low interest rates. With inflation well below the ECB’s goal and the economy struggling to expand, Draghi has pledged to add as much as 1 trillion euros to the institution’s balance sheet.
The ECB “doesn’t want to disappoint the market in just its second week of purchases,” Anders Vestergaard Fischer, a fixed income analyst at Danske Bank A/S in Copenhagen, said before the release.
While buying in the week ended Oct. 24 focused on already existing debt, the central bank ventured into the new-issue market for the first time last week, purchasing notes from Nordea Bank Finland Plc, according to people familiar with the matter. These purchases probably aren’t included in today’s account because the standard settlement time for new bonds is five days, Fischer said.
The ECB doesn’t provide a breakdown of its bond purchases and doesn’t comment on the settlement period, a spokesman said.
Policy makers will gather in Frankfurt this week and announce their monthly interest-rate decision on Nov. 6. They’ll keep the benchmark rate at a record low of 0.05 percent and the deposit rate at minus 0.2 percent, according to all economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
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