ECB Didn’t Settle Any Government Bond Purchases for a Sixth Week

The European Central Bank said it didn’t settle any government bond purchases for the sixth straight week.

The Frankfurt-based ECB said it will take seven-day term deposits tomorrow to absorb the 214 billion euros ($279 billion) of liquidity created since the program started in May 2010, a practice it employs to ensure the purchases don’t fuel inflation.

The ECB halted the bond-buying program after its two three- year loans to banks totaling more than 1 trillion euros helped debt markets to rally. Officials in Europe and around the world are bickering about additional crisis-calming steps, as turmoil returns amid concern that Spain may need a bailout. While ECB officials say Spain and Italy need to agree further action, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government wants the ECB to reactivate its bond-buying program.

Further measures to quell financial turmoil in Spain risk stretching the credibility of the bank’s monetary policy, Luc Coene, ECB Governing Council member and governor of Belgium’s central bank, said in an interview on April 21.

“We have done what we can do so far within our mandate and within the possibilities we have,” he said in Washington. “The only thing we could do is overstretch ourselves and then we would even lose the credibility we have at that moment.”

While the ECB’s steps helped calm financial markets, their effects may be wearing off, with Spain’s 10-year bond yield this month nearing levels which triggered bailouts of Greece, Ireland and Portugal. Since March 2, Spanish bond yields have surged above those of Italy, igniting speculation that the Iberian nation may be the next to require a financial lifeline. Italian borrowing costs have also risen.

     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
     79                  4.48          187.0
     80                  7.99          194.5
     81                  8.58          203.5
     82                  3.66          207.0
     83                  0.64          207.5
     84                  3.36          211.0
     85                  0.02          211.0
     86                  0.46          211.5
     87                  1.1           213.0
     88                  3.77          217.0
     89                  2.24          219.0
     90                  0.06          219.0
     91                  0.12          219.0
     92                  0.06          219.5
     93                  0             219.5
     94                  0             219.5
     95                  0             219.5
     96                  0.03          218.0
     97                  0             218.0
     98                  0             213.5**
     99                  0             213.5
     100                 0             214.0
     101                 0             214.0
     102                 0             214.0

* = calculated by Bloomberg News
** = some bonds matured

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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