Debate opens at ECB on whether to end bond buybacks to accelerate balance sheet reduction

ECB night

Banca March: The European Central Bank will consider ending bond buybacks to accelerate balance sheet reduction. As announced by Christine Lagarde at the European Parliament Hearing, it is expected to tighten monetary policy by reducing bond purchases next year. The €1.7 trillion Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP) provided for the reinvestment of asset gains until the end of 2024. However, the debate has opened up between the hawks, who defend the early end of buybacks in order to be consistent with the context of restrictive monetary policy, and the doves, who argue that they are useful for acting on those countries with higher indebtedness. Analysts favour a gradual reduction of buybacks in order to avoid investor concerns. The ECB’s asset balance has fallen from its peak of €9 trillion last year to €7 trillion. However, at 50% of eurozone GDP, it remains at relative levels above the Fed and the Bank of England.

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