The Eurosystem’s regular open market operations consist of one-week liquidity-providing operations in euro (main refinancing operations, or MROs) as well as three-month liquidity-providing operations in euro (longer-term refinancing operations, or LTROs). MROs serve to steer short-term interest rates, to manage the liquidity situation, and to signal the monetary policy stance in the euro area, while LTROs (with a three-month maturity) aim to provide additional, longer-term refinancing to the financial sector.
Currently, the regular operations are complemented by liquidity-providing special-term refinancing operations in euro (STROs) with a maturity of one maintenance period or of 36 months, as well as by US dollar liquidity-providing operations. In addition, in recent years the Eurosystem launched two covered bond purchase programmes (the CBPP, which ended in June 2010, and CBPP2, which ended in October 2012.) From 10 May 2010 to February 2012 it conducted interventions in debt markets under the Securities Markets Programme (SMP), which was terminated in September 2012. The liquidity provided through the SMP is currently absorbed by weekly collections of fixed-term deposits.
In August 2012 the European Central Bank (ECB) announced the possibility of conducting outright open market operations in secondary sovereign bond markets to safeguard an appropriate monetary policy transmission and preserve the singleness of the monetary policy. In September 2012 the ECB announced the technical features it had decided upon for such operations, named Outright Monetary Transactions.
An annex entitled “Chronology of monetary policy measures of the Eurosystem” is provided in each Monthly Bulletin of the ECB. For details of the ECB’s non-standard measures, including a comparison with those of the Federal Reserve System and the Bank of Japan, see part IV – “The ECB’s response to the financial crisis” – of the speech by former ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet entitled “The ECB’s enhanced credit support” (13 July 2009). For further details on the ECB’s response to the financial crisis, see the related article in the October 2010 Monthly Bulletin, and President Draghi’s speech “The role of monetary policy in addressing the crisis in the euro area” (15 April 2013). For details on the ECB’s response to the sovereign debt crisis, see the September 2011 Monthly Bulletin, Box 5 and the January 2012 Monthly Bulletin, Box 4.