ECB says it bought 1.1b euros more public debt


FRANKFURT – The European Central Bank said on Monday that its government bond purchases amounted to 1.121 billion euros (1.47 billion dollars) last week, almost double the amount of the previous week.
Total purchases of public debt under the controversial Securities Markets Programme that began in May have now risen to 73.5 billion euros, an ECB statement said. On December 20, the bank said that weekly purchases had fallen to 603 million euros from 2.677 billion in the previous seven-day period.
The ECB has assumed greater risk through its purchases of bonds issued by countries like Greece, Ireland and Portugal as part of an overall European Union/International Monetary Fund plan to stabilise financial markets.
ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet has pressed eurozone governments to get their finances in order, and the bank unveiled on December 16 the biggest capital increase in its 12-year history to protect against potential losses.
The ECB’s subscribed capital is to be nearly doubled to 10.76 billion euros through contributions from member central banks, which means the money will come essentially from eurozone capitals.