MADRID | By Ana Fuentes | It’s been the talk of the town for months, driving up demand for government bonds in the eurozone, pushing yields to record lows and heating the debate among market makers. And yet nobody knows the scope of the European Central Bank’s next move. The much-awaited quantitative easing (QE) program is expected to be officially announced after 14.30CET today and include controversial sovereign bond purchases of €50-70billion euros per month until the end of 2016. Is the ECB late? Will the ECB manage to spur growth in the eurozone with that amount?
ECB’s bond buying
MADRID | By J.P. Marín Arrese | Mario Draghi has snatched green light for launching his coveted bond-buying scheme. In exchange, he has caved in to German pressure transferring the potential losses to the national banks. The ECB may seem to have lost its independence but striking such a deal was worth the price.
MADRID | By J.P. Marín Arrese | In the OMT case brought before the EU Court of Justice by the German Constitutional watchdog, the Advocate General has delivered a positive opinion. As the Court usually follows such opinions, the last hurdle for implementing the planned QE has been lifted. Yet, the Advocate General sets a number of requirements that will curtail the ECB’s room of manoeuvre.
MADRID | By JP Marín Arrese | Up to now, all devices planned by the ECB to reverse the dismal situation have utterly failed. The medium-term financing facility has gathered little enthusiasm from the banking community. Covered bonds and ABS have proved to be blunders, their turnover limited to a meagre €20 billion per month. This heralded bazooka has petered out well short of its target. Banks are pressing for a widening of eligibility, hoping to transfer bad assets to the central bank. Others suggest a sweeping corporate bond buying thrust that would only benefit big enterprises, thereby introducing further distortions. Short of ammunition, the ECB has just one final weapon to curb the dwindling performance of the economy: sovereign bond acquisitions.