Posted on: 29/Mar/2011
The premiums investors demand to hold the debt of Greece, Ireland, Portugal compared to that of Germany are back close to record highs following weeks of rising market tensions and political wrangling both at national level and Europe-wide.
The ECB also said 1.054 billion euros worth of bonds matured last week, which meant that the total of bonds held under the programme fell to 76.5 billion euros, when rounded to the closest half billion. The amount of matured bonds was the biggest since the programme started.
The ECB's bond purchases, which started in May, are part of efforts to stave off Europe's debt crisis and get markets back into order. The purchases end a three-week pause in the programme but remain almost insignificant in comparison to the amounts the ECB was spending in its early stages.
The ECB can buy government and corporate bonds from banks and other investors under the controversial facility. It adds the caveat that the figures may not include its latest purchases and has given no further details, such as how much it could spend under the programme or how long it intends to buy for.
Most economists believe the ECB is focusing its buying almost exclusively on the euro zone's debt trouble spots, with recent trends also suggesting it concentrates its buying around periods of key debt auctions.
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