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Asset purchase programmes

Looking for information on the pandemic emergency purchase programme (PEPP)?

The ECB’s asset purchase programme (APP) started as part of a package of non-standard monetary policy measures that also included targeted longer-term refinancing operations, and which was initiated in mid-2014 to support the monetary policy transmission mechanism and provide the amount of policy accommodation needed to ensure price stability.

The APP consists of the:

As part of the ECB’s monetary policy strategy review, concluded in July 2021, the Governing Council reiterated that the ECB’s primary monetary policy instrument is its set of policy rates. However, the Governing Council also recognised that, in the presence of an effective lower bound on policy rates, it will also employ other instruments, namely forward guidance, asset purchases and longer-term refinancing operations, as appropriate. This means that asset purchase programmes are now part of the ECB’s set of instruments for steering its monetary policy to ensure inflation stabilises at its 2% target in the medium term.

Over the years, the Governing Council has taken several decisions to recalibrate the pace of purchases and reinvestments. The most recent recalibration was on 15 June 2023, when the Governing Council announced that it would discontinue reinvestments under the APP as of July 2023. Going forward, the APP portfolio is expected to decrease as assets reach maturity unless the Governing Council decides, as appropriate, to use this instrument to steer the ECB’s monetary policy.

APP net purchases, by programme

The Eurosystem started to purchase securities under the asset purchase programmes of its APP in October 2014. The Governing Council recalibrated the overall net purchases under these programmes from time to time as follows:

  • €60 billion of net purchases from March 2015 to March 2016;
  • €80 billion of net purchases from April 2016 to March 2017;
  • €60 billion of net purchases from April to December 2017;
  • €30 billion of net purchases from January to September 2018;
  • €15 billion of net purchases from October to December 2018;
  • no net purchases, only reinvestments of redemptions, from January to October 2019;
  • €20 billion of net purchases from November 2019 to March 2022 (a temporary €120 billion envelope of net asset purchases was added from March to December 2020);
  • €40 billion of net purchases in April 2022;
  • €30 billion of net purchases in May 2022;
  • €20 billion of net purchases in June 2022;
  • no net purchases, but full reinvestments of redemptions between July 2022 and February 2023;
  • no net purchases and only partial reinvestments of redemptions from March 2023 to June 2023;
  • no reinvestments of redemptions as of July 2023.

Chart: Net asset purchases by programme under APP

Net asset purchases by programme under APP
Source: ECB
Notes: The average monthly APP targets were first set by the ECB’s Governing Council at the start of the PSPP in March 2015. The additional envelope of €120 billion decided by the Governing Council on 12 March 2020 has been linearised for illustration in this chart, while it will be implemented in full according to the established principles with additional flexibility.

On 9 June 2022 the Governing Council decided to discontinue net asset purchases under the APP as of 1 July 2022, but to continue reinvesting, in full, the principal payments from maturing securities purchased under the APP. On 15 December 2022 the Governing Council decided that from the beginning of March 2023, the APP portfolio will decline at a measured and predictable pace, as the Eurosystem will not reinvest all of the principal payments from maturing securities. The decline will amount to €15 billion per month on average until the end of the second quarter of 2023 and its subsequent pace will be determined over time. On 2 February 2023 the Governing Council decided on the detailed modalities for reducing the Eurosystem holdings of securities under the APP through the partial reinvestment of the principal payments from maturing securities. On 4 May 2023 the Governing Council announced it expected to discontinue reinvestments under the APP as of July 2023. On 15 June 2023 the Governing Council confirmed that reinvestments under the APP would be discontinued as of July 2023.

The table presents the Eurosystem holdings at the end of the month and a breakdown in the change of Eurosystem holdings.

Eurosystem holdings under the asset purchase programme
Changes of holdings (previous month) ABSPP CBPP3 CSPP PSPP APP
Holdings* in May 2024 9,428 268,850 309,215 2,271,392 2,858,884
Monthly net purchases -414 -3,777 -2,555 -15,018 -21,765
Quarter-end amortisation adjustment and redemptions of coupon STRIPS -12 -113 -179 -1,876 -2,179
Holdings* in June 2024 9,002 264,960 306,481 2,254,498 2,834,940
*At amortised cost, in EUR millions, at month-end. Figures may not add up due to rounding. Figures are preliminary and may be subject to revision.

Amortisation adjustments are made at the end of each quarter. The amortisation emerges from an accounting principle that implies that securities purchased at prices below face value have to be revalued upwards over time towards maturity, and revalued downwards over time, if purchased at prices above face value. STRIPS are accounted for at the end of each month (see Question 2.4 in the Q&A).

Weekly changes are reported below and in the Eurosystem weekly financial statement. Full historical data are available in the Statistics section under Data on daily liquidity conditions.

APP cumulative net purchases, by programme

The stock of Eurosystem APP bonds stood at €3038 billion at the end of June 2024. The cumulative net purchases are illustrated below.

Eurosystem cumulative net asset purchases from 2015-2018, broken down by purchase programme type. Reinvestments from 2019.

APP redemptions

During the reinvestment phase of the APP, when reinvesting APP redemptions, the Eurosystem in general adhered to the principle of market neutrality via a smooth and flexible implementation. More specifically, for corporate bond reinvestments, from October 2022 the Eurosystem tilted these purchases towards issuers with a better climate performance.

Additionally, on 2 February 2023 the Governing Council decided that during the phase of partial reinvestment the Eurosystem’s corporate bond purchases would be tilted more strongly towards issuers with a better climate performance.

To allow for a regular and balanced market presence the Governing Council decided to distribute the reinvestment of principal redemptions through time.

The table presents estimated monthly redemptions for the next 12 months.

Expected monthly redemption amounts for the APP over a rolling 12-month horizon (in EUR millions)
EUR millions ABSPP  CBPP3  CSPP PSPP APP
Jun 24 414 3,777 2,481 14,974 21,645
Jul 24 359 2,558 3,186 26,724 32,826
Aug 24 282 541 244 10,533 11,600
Sep 24 335 2,993 4,738 17,488 25,554
Oct 24 430 736 2,613 30,578 34,357
Nov 24 228 3,136 2,031 21,298 26,692
Dec 24 339 1,790 1,944 15,627 19,701
Jan 25 1,269 4,335 2,973 13,463 22,040
Feb 25 220 8,635 4,076 24,021 36,952
Mar 25 307 3,709 4,279 33,374 41,669
Apr 25 338 3,373 5,137 26,671 35,518
May 25 146 4,448 2,699 20,571 27,864
Jun 25 225 3,864 2,940 18,261 25,290
*Actual redemption, based on month end data. ECB estimates in italics. Figures may not add up due to rounding. Figures are preliminary and may be subject to revision. Note: Realised redemptions may differ from estimated redemptions.

Corporate sector purchase programme

Between 8 June 2016 and 19 December 2018 the Eurosystem conducted net purchases of corporate sector bonds under the corporate sector purchase programme (CSPP). From January to October 2019 the Eurosystem only reinvested the principal payments from maturing securities held in the CSPP portfolio. Purchases of securities under the CSPP were then restarted on 1 November 2019 and continued until the end of June 2022. Between July 2022 and February 2023 the Eurosystem aimed to fully reinvest the principal payments from maturing securities. From March 2023 the Eurosystem only partially reinvested the principal payments from maturing CSPP securities. The Eurosystem discontinued all CSPP reinvestments as of July 2023.

As announced in July 2022, the Eurosystem aims to gradually decarbonise its corporate bond holdings, on a path aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement. To that end, the Eurosystem tilted these purchases under the APP towards issuers with a better climate performance through the reinvestment of the sizeable redemptions.

Securities purchased under the CSPP are made available for securities lending to support market liquidity and collateral availability in the market.

CSPP holdings*
EUR mil. 304,158
Date 12 July 2024
* End of week, at amortised cost
Breakdown of CSPP holdings*
Market: Primary Secondary
EUR millions * 71,847 234,634
Share * 23.44% 76.56%
Date 30 June 2024
* End of month, at amortised cost
Historical lists of securities held under the CSPP
Select date

Public sector purchase programme

The Eurosystem conducted net purchases of public sector securities under the public sector purchase programme (PSPP) between 9 March 2015 and 19 December 2018. From January to October 2019 the Eurosystem only reinvested the principal payments from maturing securities held in the PSPP portfolio. Purchases of securities under the PSPP were then restarted on 1 November 2019 and continued until the end of June 2022. Between July 2022 and February 2023 the Eurosystem aimed to fully reinvest the principal payments from maturing securities. From March 2023 the Eurosystem only partially reinvested the principal payments from maturing PSPP securities. As of July 2023 the Eurosystem discontinued all PSPP reinvestments.

The securities covered by the PSPP include:

  • nominal and inflation-linked central government bonds
  • bonds issued by recognised agencies, regional and local governments, international organisations and multilateral development banks located in the euro area

Since December 2018 government bonds and recognised agencies make up around 90% of the total Eurosystem portfolio, while securities issued by international organisations and multilateral development banks account for around 10%.

Securities purchased under the PSPP are made available for securities lending to support market liquidity and collateral availability in the market.

PSPP holdings*
EUR millions 2,249,241
Date 12 July 2024
* End of week, at amortised cost
Breakdown of debt securities under the PSPP
(EUR millions) Cumulative net purchases as of end December 2023* Monthly net purchases June 2024 Cumulative net purchases as of June 2024* WAM of PSPP portfolio holdings end December 2023** Current WAM of PSPP portfolio holdings** WAM of eligible universe of securities under the PSPP as at end-June 2024**
Austria 70,115 0 70,115 7.30 6.83 8.60
Belgium 90,789 -4,205 86,585 6.70 6.57 11.09
Cyprus 4,295 -304 3,990 7.95 8.02 8.64
Germany 599,601 -6,128 569,671 6.62 6.69 8.25
Estonia 605 0 605 6.95 6.45 7.64
Spain 297,226 0 288,726 7.30 7.17 8.34
Finland 42,249 0 40,580 7.75 7.58 8.84
France 499,124 -289 478,519 6.33 6.21 8.76
Ireland 41,474 0 38,981 7.91 7.96 9.86
Italy 405,391 -245 390,036 7.00 6.96 7.99
Lithuania 5,792 -224 5,408 9.10 9.66 9.06
Luxembourg 3,566 0 3,566 6.01 5.51 8.29
Latvia 3,810 0 3,452 8.06 8.43 7.40
Malta 1,428 0 1,428 10.17 9.67 8.02
Netherlands 121,402 -625 120,778 7.32 7.26 9.68
Portugal 50,050 0 50,008 7.38 7.22 8.28
Slovenia 11,049 -4 11,039 8.68 8.19 8.61
Slovakia 17,844 -618 17,226 7.58 7.37 8.88
Supranationals 263,539 -2,377 252,258 8.13 8.21 9.71
Total 2,529,348 -15,018 2,432,969 7.01 6.96 8.68
* Cumulative monthly net purchases figures represent the difference between the acquisition cost of all purchase operations and the redeemed nominal amounts. ** Remaining weighted average maturity (WAM) in years. Notes: Figures may not add up due to rounding. Figures are preliminary and may be subject to revision. The monthly purchase volumes are reported on a settlement basis and net of redemptions. The Eurosystem will continue to adhere to the principle of market neutrality via smooth and flexible implementation. To this end, the reinvestment of principal redemptions will be distributed over the year to allow for a regular and balanced market presence (see press release on technical parameters for the reinvestment). When assessing the remaining WAM of Eurosystem holdings relative to a market measure, deviations could reflect, inter alia, the 1 to 30 year maturity range of purchases; the issue share limits taking into account holdings in other Eurosystem portfolios; as well as the availability and liquidity conditions in the market during the implementation period; and the impact of portfolio redemptions and their respective reinvestments.

Asset-backed securities purchase programme

Between 21 November 2014 and 19 December 2018 the Eurosystem conducted net purchases of asset-backed securities under the asset-backed securities purchase programme (ABSPP). From January to October 2019 the Eurosystem only reinvested the principal payments from maturing securities held in the ABSPP portfolio. Purchases of securities under the ABSPP were restarted on 1 November 2019 and continued until the end of June 2022. Between July 2022 and February 2023, the Eurosystem aimed to fully reinvest the principal payments from maturing securities. From March 2023 the Eurosystem only partially reinvested the principal payments from maturing asset-backed securities. As of July 2023 the Eurosystem discontinued all reinvestments of asset-backed securities.

ABSPP holdings*
EUR mil. 8,944
Date 12 July 2024
* End of week, at amortised cost
Breakdown of ABSPP holdings*
Market: Primary Secondary
EUR millions * 5,027 3,975
Share * 55.84% 44.16%
Date 30 June 2024
* End of month, at amortised cost

Covered bond purchase programme 3

Between 20 October 2014 and 19 December 2018 the Eurosystem conducted net purchases of covered bonds under a third covered bond purchase programme (CBPP3). From January to October 2019 the Eurosystem only reinvested the principal payments from maturing securities held in the CBPP3 portfolio. Purchases of securities under the CBPP3 were restarted on 1 November 2019 and continued until the end of June 2022. Between July 2022 and February 2023 the Eurosystem aimed to fully reinvest the principal payments from maturing securities. From March 2023 the Eurosystem only partially reinvested the principal payments from maturing CBPP3 securities. As of July 2023 the Eurosystem discontinued all CBPP3 reinvestments.

Securities purchased under CBPP3 are made available for securities lending by a number of Eurosystem central banks.

CBPP3 holdings*
EUR mil. 264,090
Date 12 July 2024
* End of week, at amortised cost
Breakdown of CBPP3 holdings*
Market: Primary Secondary
EUR millions * 103,328 161,632
Share * 39.00% 61.00%
Date 30 June 2024
* End of month, at amortised cost

Terminated programmes

Securities Markets Programme

On 10 May 2010 the central banks of the Eurosystem started purchasing securities in the context of the Securities Markets Programme (SMP), with a view to addressing the severe tensions in certain market segments which had been hampering the monetary policy transmission mechanism. Following a Governing Council decision on 6 September 2012 to initiate outright monetary transactions, the SMP was terminated. The existing securities in the SMP portfolio will be held to maturity. For more information see the press release: Technical features of Outright Monetary Transactions; as well as ECB decision of 14 May 2010 ECB/2010/5 and the press release of 10 May 2010: ECB decides on measures to address severe tensions in financial markets.

With a view to leaving liquidity conditions unaffected by the programme, the Eurosystem re-absorbed the liquidity provided through the SMP by means of weekly liquidity-absorbing operations until June 2014. On 5 June 2014 the ECB suspended the weekly fine-tuning operations sterilising the liquidity injected by the programme and the last operation was allotted on 10 June 2014.

SMP holdings*
EUR mil. 1,325
Date 12 July 2024
* at amortised cost
Total Eurosystem SMP holdings by issuer as at 31 December 2023
Issuer country Nominal amount (EUR billions) Book value* (EUR billions) Average remaining maturity (years)
Ireland 0.6 0.6 1.2
Greece 1.8 1.8 1.1
Total** 2.5 2.4 1.1
* SMP holdings are valued at amortised cost. ** Totals may not add up due to rounding.

Covered bond purchase programme

On 2 July 2009, the Eurosystem launched its first covered bond purchase programme (CBPP1). The programme ended, as planned, on 30 June 2010 when it reached a nominal amount of €60 billion. The Eurosystem held the assets bought under this programme until maturity.

For further details, see ECB decision of 2 July 2009 ( ECB/2009/16 ) as well as the press releases Purchase programme for covered bonds (4 June 2009) and Covered bond purchase programme completed (30 June 2010).

Covered bond purchase programme 2

In November 2011 the Eurosystem launched a second covered bond purchase programme (CBPP2). The programme ended, as planned, on 31 October 2012 when it reached a nominal amount of €16.4 billion. The Eurosystem held the assets bought under this programme until maturity.

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