PRESS RELEASE

List of eligible assets

23 October 1998

Further to the publication of the European Central Bank (ECB) entitled “ The single monetary policy in Stage Three: General documentation on ESCB monetary policy instruments and procedures” (the “ General Documentation”) (September 1998), the ECB will publish on Monday, 26 October 1998 at 8 a.m. ECB time (C.E.T.), on the Internet a list of assets eligible for use as collateral in ESCB credit operations (http://www.ecb.europa.eu, item MFIs and assets). For the time being, this service will be accessible from the ECB website on working days from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ECB time (C.E.T.).

Article 18.1 of the Statute of the ESCB requires all ESCB liquidity-providing operations to be based on adequate collateral. With the aim of protecting the ESCB from incurring losses in its monetary policy operations or in the provision of intraday credit in TARGET, ensuring the equal treatment of counterparties and enhancing operational efficiency, underlying assets have to fulfil certain criteria in order to be eligible for ESCB monetary policy operations. These eligibility criteria are laid down in Chapter 6 of the General Documentation. The list of eligible assets shows the underlying assets that are deemed by the ECB to fulfil these eligibility criteria.

It is recognised that the harmonisation of eligibility criteria throughout the euro area would contribute to ensuring equal treatment and operational efficiency. At the same time, due attention has to be paid to existing differences in financial structures across the Member States. A distinction is therefore made, essentially for purposes internal to the ESCB, between two categories of assets eligible for ESCB monetary policy operations. These two categories are referred to as “ tier one” and “ tier two” respectively, where:

  • tier one consists of marketable debt instruments which fulfil uniform euro area wide eligibility criteria specified by the ECB;
  • tier two consists of additional assets, marketable and non-marketable, which are of particular importance for national financial markets and banking systems and for which eligibility criteria are established by national central banks, subject to the minimum eligibility criteria established by the ECB.

The specific eligibility criteria for tier two applied by the respective national central banks are subject to approval by the ECB.

No distinction is made between the two tiers with regard to the quality of the assets and their eligibility for the various types of ESCB monetary policy operations (with the exception that tier two assets are not normally used by the ESCB in outright transactions). At present, the list of eligible assets contains around 19,000 tier one assets and around 1,800 marketable tier two assets. The outstanding value of marketable assets amounts to around €5,000 billion. Non-marketable tier two assets are not included in the list on an asset-by-asset basis. However, the main features of these assets are provided in the database, item User Manual.

All assets eligible to be used in monetary policy operations can also be used to collateralise intraday credit in TARGET. In addition, for the collateralisation of intraday credit, TARGET participants may use collateral proposed by EU national central banks of non-participating Members States; EU national central banks in participating Member States can admit such collateral for the purpose of collateralising intraday credit. Such collateral will have the same quality standards as the assets eligible in the euro area. These assets are not included in the list of eligible assets published by the ECB.

The list of eligible assets will be updated on the Internet on a weekly basis. The updates will be made available to the public at 8 a.m. ECB time (C.E.T.) each Friday. In addition, the ECB reserves the right to exclude, at any time, individual assets from use in ESCB monetary policy operations. Procedures for monitoring and continuous checking have been put in place to ensure that the list remains up-to-date, accurate and consistent.

National central banks may make the list of eligible assets available to the public through their own means of communication. Further information may be requested from the ECB, at the following address:

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