ECB Says It Spent More on Bonds Last Week as Italy Yields Soared

The European Central Bank bought more government bonds last week as Italian yields soared.

The Frankfurt-based ECB said it settled 9.5 billion euros ($13.1 billion) of bond purchases in the week through Nov. 4, up from 4 billion euros the previous week. The central bank will take seven-day term deposits tomorrow to absorb the 183 billion euros of liquidity created since its bond program started on May 10 last year, a practice it employs to ensure the purchases don’t fuel inflation.

Italy’s 10-year bond yield, which surged above 6 percent last week, climbed to a euro-era record of 6.68 percent today amid concern the region’s third-largest economy is struggling to manage its debt load as growth falters. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Nov. 3 that the bank’s purchases are temporary and limited, and can’t sustainably lower borrowing costs for governments.

The ECB was forced to start buying Italian and Spanish government bonds in August after Europe’s debt crisis spread. It says the purchases are aimed solely at ensuring transmission of its interest rates on financial markets.

Juergen Stark on Sept. 9 announced he will resign from the ECB’s Executive Board in protest at the purchases and council member Jens Weidmann has said the bank should reduce the risks on its balance sheet rather than increase them.

     Week      Purchases Settled (bln)  Total (bln)
     1              16.50*              16.5
     2              10.00*              26.5
     3               8.50*              35.0
     4               5.50*              40.5
     5               6.50*              47.0
     6               4.00*              51.0
     7               4.00*              55.0
     8               4.00*              59.0
     9               1.00*              60.0
     10              0.302              60.0
     11              0.176              60.5
     12              0.081              60.5
     13              0.009              60.5
     14              0.010              60.5
     15              0.338              60.5
     16              0.142              61.0
     17              0.173              61.0
     18              0.237              61.0
     19              0.323              61.5
     20              0.134              61.5
     21              1.384              63.5
     22              0.009              63.5
     23                  0              63.5
     24                  0              63.5
     25                  0              63.5
     26              0.711              64.0
     27              1.070              65.0
     28              0.713              66.0
     29              1.348              67.0
     30              1.965              69.0
     31              2.667              72.0
     32              0.603              72.5
     33              1.121              73.5
     34              0.164              73.5
     35              0.113              74.0
     36              2.313              76.5
     37              0.146              76.5
     38                  0              76.5
     39                  0              76.5
     40                  0              76.5
     41              0.711              77.0
     42              0.369              77.5
     43                  0              77.5
     44                  0              77.5
     45                  0              77.5
     46              0.432              76.5
     47                  0              77.0
     48                  0              77.0
     49                  0              76.0
     50                  0              76.0
     51                  0              76.0
     52                  0              76.0
     53                  0              76.0
     54                  0              75.0
     55                  0              75.0
     56                  0              75.0
     57                  0              75.0
     58                  0              74.0
     59                  0              74.0
     60                  0              74.0
     61                  0              74.0
     62                  0              74.0
     63                  0              74.0
     64                  0              74.0
     65                  0              74.0
     66                 22              96.0
     67                 14.3           110.5
     68                  6.65          115.5
     69                 13.3           129.0
     70                 13.96          143.0
     71                  9.79          152.5
     72                  3.95          156.5
     73                  3.80          160.5
     74                  2.31          163.0
     75                  2.24          165.0
     76                  4.49          169.5
     77                  4.00          173.5
     78                  9.52          183.0

*calculated by Bloomberg News

To contact the reporter on this story: Gabi Thesing in London at gthesing@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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