February 21, 2013
The ECB has just released details on its holdings of government bonds bought under the Securities Markets Programme (SMP) for the first time, see table below (click to enlarge):
To be honest, the figures are much as expected – although the holdings of Greek bonds will have decreased due to a fair amount of the holdings maturing (circa €10bn over the course of the SMP). The holdings of Italian bonds are interesting, given that we knew the ECB purchased almost €145bn of Spanish and Italian bonds, it is possibly a bit surprising that the level of Italian bonds outweighs Spanish so significantly (although it does broadly match the relative size of their debt markets). Still it highlights that necessary intervention to simply keep yields in these countries to below 7% was still very sizeable.
The move is positive for the transparency of the ECB (if a little late). Let us hope this is the start of a trend rather than a one off…Open Europe blog team