World Economy

ECB Beats QE Target in First Month

ECB Beats QE Target in First MonthECB Beats QE Target in First Month

The European Central Bank bought almost €61 billion ($66b) of government bonds and other assets in March, it said on Tuesday.

This just beat its target in the first month of a program designed to revive the eurozone economy, RTE reported.

The ECB has committed to buying €60 billion of assets a month with newly created money until September 2016, or longer if needed to get inflation back on track to hit its target of just below 2%.

Purchases of public-sector bonds started on March 9, while those of other assets such as covered bonds and asset-backed securities began earlier.

An ECB spokesman said that for March alone, net asset purchases reached €60.953 billion. Weekly data earlier in March had already shown the ECB exceeding its purchase targets.

  Reduced Liquidity

Figures for the week ending April 3 showed a fall in government bond purchases, but economists attributed this to reduced liquidity in bond markets in the run-up to the Easter holidays in western Europe, rather than a more permanent shortage of bonds.

Some economists had raised concerns that a shortage of bonds that met the ECB’s purchase criteria could pose a problem.

Analysts said the asset purchase data coincided with upbeat data on financing conditions and confidence, which suggested QE was succeeding in lifting morale in the euro zone.

The ECB said it bought €11.5 billion of government bonds in the fourth week of its program, down from €14.7 billion in the third.

Total purchases since March 9 stood at €52.555 billion.

The ECB said that in addition to the public-sector bonds, it had settled €64.670 billion in total covered bond purchases as of April 3, and €4.888 billion in purchases of asset-backed securities (ABS).

Both of those programs were announced in September.