FRANKFURT Feb 3 The size of the European
Central Bank's dormant government bond purchase programme
decreased to 175.5 billion euros ($237 billion) last week as
1.695 billion worth of bonds matured, the central bank said on
The ECB terminated its Securities Markets Programme (SMP) in
September 2012 to replace it with a new but yet-to-be-used plan
dubbed Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT).
But because the ECB has said it will keep the bonds it
acquired under the SMP programme until maturity, it will be
years before the programme ceases to exist.
The ECB revealed the contents of its SMP portfolio for the
first time in February last year, showing it had 99 billion
euros of Italian bonds, 44 billion of Spanish, 31 billion of
Greek, 22 billion of Portuguese and 14 billion euros of Irish
government debt at the end of 2012.
The ECB will seek to take an amount equivalent to the
current SMP holdings as weekly deposits from banks on Tuesday to
counterbalance the buys and neutralise any threat of them
However, lately it has failed to offset purchases fully.
Last week, banks offered up 152 billion euros to the ECB in
one-week deposits, falling short of the intended amount of 177.5
($1 = 0.7415 euros)
(Reporting by Frankfurt newsroom)