FRANKFURT, March 27 Euro zone banks mainly
increased their holdings of sovereign debt in February after
banks passed the year-end deadline for balance sheet data under
the European Central Bank's asset review, ECB data showed on
Italian banks bought sovereign debt and recorded a 6.5
billion euro ($8.96 billion) rise after a 6.9 billion decrease
in January. At a market value of 415.6 billion, Italian banks'
holdings of government bonds remain the largest in the euro
Greece also saw an increase, with banks buying 439 million
euros of sovereign debt. Adjusted for market value, Greek banks'
sovereign debt holdings rose to 13.8 billion euros.
Spanish banks, on the other hand, sold 2.3 billion euros
worth of government bonds in February, after bying 20.4 billion
worth of them in January.
Portuguese banks also decreased their government debt
holdings by 3.2 billion euros, with the market value falling to
($1 = 0.7254 Euros)
(Reporting by Eva Taylor and Jonathan Gould)