PRESS RELEASE

Publication of Short-Term European Paper (STEP) yield statistics

23 February 2007

The Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) decided yesterday that daily Short-Term European Paper (STEP) yield statistics for STEP-labelled issues will be published on the ECB website from 2 April 2007.

The statistics will cover annualised yields for euro-denominated, STEP-labelled zero coupon issues, referring to the primary market interest rates individually and originally agreed between issuer and investor for a short-term debt security with an original maturity of up to one year. Yield statistics will also be published for STEP issues priced with a spread against reference interest rates.

The yield statistics will be published weekly on the ECB’s website on the first business day of each week, except in the case of ECB holidays, when publication will follow on the subsequent working day. This data will refer to each day of the previous week. These yield statistics complement the publication of outstanding amounts of STEP-labelled issues, which have been released on the ECB’s website since September 2006.

As announced by the ECB on 15 September 2006, following the publication of these yield statistics, the STEP market will be accepted as a non-regulated market for collateral purposes in Eurosystem credit operations from 2 April 2007.

In order to be eligible as collateral for Eurosystem operations, notes issued under STEP-compliant programmes will also have to comply with all the eligibility criteria listed in Chapter 6 of “The implementation of monetary policy in the euro area: general documentation on Eurosystem monetary policy instruments and procedures” ( http://www.ecb.europa.eu/mopo/).

The STEP initiative aims to foster the integration and development of the European markets for short-term securities through convergence towards the best market standards. Further information on STEP and STEP-labelled programs can be obtained on the STEP Market website ( http://www.stepmarket.org).

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