ECB Exceeds Monthly Asset-Purchases Target Before Summer Lull

The European Central Bank exceeded its monthly asset-buying target in July before liquidity dries up in the region’s prime vacation month.

The ECB bought 61.3 billion euros ($67 billion) of public and private debt under its quantitative-easing program, data on the institution’s website showed on Monday. Purchases have exceeded the ECB’s monthly goal of 60 billion euros since May.

ECB Executive Board member Benoit Coeure said at that time that the central bank would increase the pace of bond-buying to counter expected lower liquidity in the summer. Higher QE purchases may have also served as a measure to calm market volatility caused by Greece’s financial crisis, as suggested by Coeure.

The ECB purchased 51.4 billion euros of government and agency bonds, the data showed. It bought 9 billion euros of covered bonds, and 944 million euros of asset-backed securities.

QE started in March with a purchase target of 60 billion euros a month of government and agency debt, covered bonds and ABS. Eligible debt was expanded last month to include the debt of some state-backed companies.

Policy makers intend to run the program until September 2016, or until they judge the euro-area inflation rate to be back on track toward their goal of just under 2 percent. Consumer prices rose an annual 0.2 percent in July while core inflation unexpectedly accelerated to 1 percent, the fastest in 15 months.

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