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After 17 Years, ECB Reveals $547 Billion in Central-Bank Assets

  • Euro-area national central bank holdings revealed for 1st time
  • ECB says release of previously secret ANFA serves transparency
Lights illuminate the office space in the European Central Bank (ECB) headquarters in Frankfurt.

Lights illuminate the office space in the European Central Bank (ECB) headquarters in Frankfurt.

Photographer: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg

The euro area’s 19 national central banks hold investment assets worth almost half a trillion euros, according to previously secret information published on Friday by the European Central Bank in Frankfurt.

The ECB set out details of the so-called Agreement on Net Financial Assets, a document signed before the introduction of the euro a decade and a half ago that regulated how the previously independent national central banks would manage their holdings of foreign currencies and bonds. While some of those national authorities have still to publish their individual accounts, the ECB said the outstanding amount stood at 490 billion euros ($547 billion) at the end of 2015.