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ECB Says It Increased Government Bond Purchases Last Week

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Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) -- The European Central Bank increased its government bond purchases last week.

The Frankfurt-based ECB said it settled 3.77 billion euros ($4.77 billion) of bond purchases in the week through Jan. 13, up from 1.1 billion euros the previous week. The ECB will take seven-day term deposits tomorrow to absorb the 217 billion euros of liquidity created since its Securities Markets Program started in May 2010, a practice it employs to ensure the purchases don’t fuel inflation.

Italian and Spanish borrowing costs fell last week and ECB President Mario Draghi said there are “tentative” signs of stabilization in the economy even as the sovereign debt crisis poses downside risks. Standard & Poor’s on Jan. 13 downgraded nine euro-area nations including France and Austria, saying efforts to combat the crisis are falling short.

So far, the SMP has been “reasonably effective at managing interest rates despite its modest amounts,” said Christian Schulz, an economist at Berenberg Bank in London. “More likely than not, another wave of the crisis will force the ECB to act more decisively.”

The ECB has refused to ramp up its bond program to help indebted nations, saying the purchases are aimed solely at ensuring monetary-policy transmission and it’s up to governments to solve the crisis. European leaders will this week resume efforts to agree new fiscal rules to win back investor confidence in the monetary union.

     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

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Black in Frankfurt at jblack25@bloomberg.net

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

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