ECB Bought 62.4 Billion Euros in Bonds in January as QE Reviewed

  • Central banks resumed purchases after suspension for holidays
  • Governing Council will review stimulus at March 10 meeting

The European Central Bank spent 62.4 billion euros ($68 billion) on debt in January, returning its quantitative-easing program to full strength after a winter break.

Holdings of public and private-sector debt under QE climbed to 712.3 billion euros last month, data on the ECB’s website showed on Monday. Of that, 544.2 billion euros was public-sector debt, with 150.5 billion euros accounting for covered bonds and 17.6 billion euros for asset-backed securities.

The ECB decided last month to review its stimulus program, which also includes a negative deposit rate, as slumping oil prices and a global trade slowdown undermine its efforts to revive euro-area inflation. Policy makers will decide on March 10 whether more action is needed.

Public-sector debt holdings rose by 53 billion euros last month, covered bonds by 7.2 billion euros, and ABS by 2.3 billion euros, the data showed. The pace of bond-buying in January compared with a total of 50.3 billion euros in December. The ECB suspended purchases between Dec. 22 and Jan. 1 in anticipation of lower liquidity.

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