• Holdings under quantitative easing rose to 917.8 billion euros
  • Includes first month of stimulus expansion to 80 billion euros

The European Central Bank bought 85.2 billion euros ($98 billion) of debt in April as it boosted purchases in the 14th month of its quantitative-easing program.

Holdings of public and private-sector debt climbed to 917.8 billion euros, data on the ECB’s website showed on Monday. The central bank announced in March that it planned to buy an average of 80 billion euros a month of bonds as of April, up from the previous target of 60 billion. The program will start to include corporate bonds from next month and the central bank may also front-load its purchases leading up to the summer lull.

Policy makers are struggling to revive inflation in the 19-nation euro area, where price growth has missed their goal of just below 2 percent for three years. Euro-area inflation fell to minus 0.2 percent in April and ECB macroeconomic predictions show that central bank forecasters have pushed their hopes for reviving prices further out.

Looking to assets already being purchased, holdings of sovereign and agency debt climbed by 78.5 billion euros last month, the ECB data showed. Holdings of covered bonds rose by 6.6 billion euros. The central bank’s asset backed security holdings advanced by 50 million euros.

Corporate-bond purchases will start in June and will be carried out by six national central banks, the ECB said on April 21. It will extend to insurers and non-bank companies, even in case where those companies own a bank. The maturity of debt purchased will be between six months and 30 years.

The ECB Governing Council gathers for its next monetary policy meeting on June 2 in Vienna.

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