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ECB Says It Settled Fewer Government Bond Purchases Last Week

Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- The European Central Bank bought fewer government bonds last week.

The Frankfurt-based ECB said it settled 2.24 billion euros ($2.9 billion) of bond purchases in the week through Jan. 20, down from 3.77 billion euros the previous week. The ECB will take seven-day term deposits tomorrow to absorb the 219 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 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.

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 finance ministers are meeting in Brussels today to agree new fiscal rules to win back investor confidence in the monetary union.

Euro-region government bonds returned 0.6 percent so far this year, after posting a 4 percent gain in December, the best month since before the creation of the single currency, according to indexes compiled by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

     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
*T   89                  2.24          219.0



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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