Covid: ECB purchases are well below expectations

Frankfurt, we have a problem. It is with this ironic tweet that Frederik Ducrozet, specialist in the European Central Bank at Pictet, expressed his incomprehension on Monday evening. And for good reason. The ECB had just published its new weekly net buying figures (new bonds purchased minus repayments of matured bonds) of bonds under its Pandemic Emergency Program (PEPP). And once again, the amount used – less than 12 billion euros, in line with the previous week – seemed very low in a context of strong pressure on the borrowing rates of the States.

Analysts had warned that we risked a strong disappointment below a higher threshold, set by UniCredit at 17 billion euros, and 20 billion by Pictet. The raw figures (those which include only purchases) communicated on Tuesday are not much more encouraging. Admittedly the amount – 18.2 billion euros – is up compared to the previous week (16.9 billion) but still lower than the average since the launch of the program.

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