European Central Bank Governing Council member Luc Coene said Belgium’s central bank will break down its share of any ECB profits on Greek bonds when distributing a dividend to the Belgian state.
“What we agreed upon in the eurosystem is that we don’t wish to make a profit on Greece,” Coene, the bank’s governor, told reporters in Brussels on Feb. 13 in comments embargoed until today. “So when we distribute profit from a given year to the Belgian state, we will provide a breakdown of what’s due to Greece and it’s then up to the government to decide how to use it.”
Coene also said it was “still not clear” whether the National Bank of Belgium would have to accept a loss along with private creditors on the Greek sovereign bonds in its own investment portfolio. The Belgian central bank held about 700 million euros ($922 million) of Greek bonds for its own account, according to its 2010 annual report.
International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde told reporters in Paris last month that European governments and other public holders of Greek debt may have to increase support if private creditors don’t go far enough.
Greek bonds bought by the ECB in its Securities Market Program are exempt from a debt swap designed to halve the nation’s privately held obligations by eliminating 100 billion euros of debt. Talk of the ECB sharing losses is “unfounded,” ECB President Mario Draghi said at a press conference in Frankfurt last week.