Asset purchase programmes

Expanded asset purchase programme

The expanded asset purchase programme (APP) includes all purchase programmes under which private sector securities and public sector securities are purchased to address the risks of a too prolonged period of low inflation. It consists of the

APP monthly net purchases, by programme

Eurosystem monthly asset purchases, broken down by purchase programme type; purchase targets and actual monthly purchases

Monthly net purchases of public and private sector securities currently amount to €60 billion on average.

On 26 October 2017 the ECB's Governing Council decided that net purchases would be reduced from the current monthly pace of €60 billion to a new monthly pace of €30 billion from January 2018 until the end of September 2018. The intention is for securities purchases to be carried out until the Governing Council sees a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation that is consistent with its aim of achieving inflation rates below, but close to, 2% over the medium term. See: The recalibration of the ECB's asset purchase programme, Economic Bulletin 7/2017.

From April 2016 until March 2017 the average monthly pace was €80 billion while from March 2015 until March 2016 the average monthly pace was €60 billion.

The APP is part of a package of measures that also includes targeted longer-term refinancing operations.

APP holdings

Purchases of marketable debt instruments increase the Eurosystem holdings of such instruments and inject liquidity into the banking system.

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

Eurosystem holdings under the expanded asset purchase programme
Changes of holdings (last two months) ABSPP CBPP3 CSPP PSPP APP
Holdings* November 2017 25,373 239,927 128,810 1,848,984 2,243,094
Monthly net purchases -351 1,330 3,080 46,184 50,243
Quarter-end amortisation adjustment -7 -570 -297 -6,404 -7,278
Holdings* December 2017 25,015 240,687 131,593 1,888,764 2,286,059
*At amortised cost, in euro million, 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.

History of cumulative purchase breakdowns under the APP.
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.

Corporate sector purchase programme

The Eurosystem started to buy corporate sector bonds under the corporate sector purchase programme (CSPP) on 8 June 2016. The measure helps to further strengthen the pass-through of the Eurosystem’s asset purchases to financing conditions of the real economy, and, in conjunction with the other non-standard monetary policy measures in place, provides further monetary policy accommodation.

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

CSPP holdings*
€ mil. 133,282
Date 12 January 2018
* end of week, at amortised cost

List of securities held under the CSPP*
* end of week

Breakdown of CSPP holdings*
Market: Primary Secondary
€ mil. * 19,913 111,680
Share * 15.13% 84.87%
Date 31 December 2017
* end of month, at amortised cost

History of cumulative purchase breakdowns under the CSPP

Breakdown of CSPP portfolio by sector, rating and country of risk

Public sector purchase programme

On 9 March 2015 the Eurosystem started to buy public sector securities under the public sector purchase programme (PSPP).

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

The Eurosystem intends to allocate 90% of the total purchases to government bonds and recognised agencies, and 10% to securities issued by international organisations and multilateral development banks (from March 2015 until March 2016 these figures were 88% and 12% respectively).

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

Data on securities lending - The aggregate monthly average on-loan balance for the Eurosystem and the aggregate monthly average amount of cash collateral received in the context of PSPP securities lending will be published every third Monday of the month for the previous month in the securities lending section.

PSPP holdings*
€ mil. 1,898,368
Date 12 January 2018
* end of week, at amortised cost
Breakdown of debt securities under the PSPP
as at
31 December 2017
Monthly net purchases* Cumulative monthly net purchases* Remaining Weighted Average Maturity (WAM) in years
Austria 1,287 51,959 9.08
Belgium 1,658 65,463 9.98
Cyprus 0 214 4.20
Germany 10,660 459,317 6.56
Estonia 0 65 0.53
Spain 5,966 230,262 8.27
Finland 634 29,164 7.30
France 9,224 375,769 7.76
Ireland 691 25,280 9.20
Italy 7,958 326,726 8.11
Lithuania 62 2,904 6.83
Luxembourg 73 2,386 5.66
Latvia 7 1,743 7.60
Malta 21 1,027 11.52
The Netherlands 2,368 102,783 7.42
Portugal 516 31,063 8.31
Slovenia 237 6,908 10.33
Slovakia 194 10,782 8.41
Supranationals 4,629 207,421 7.69
Total 46,184 1,931,238 7.71
* Book value in euro million.
Notes: Figures may not add up due to rounding. Figures are preliminary and may be subject to revision. The monthly purchase volumes are reported net of redemptions.
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; the availability and liquidity conditions in the market during the implementation period; and the impact of portfolio redemptions and their respective reinvestments.

History of cumulative purchase breakdowns under the PSPP

Asset-backed securities purchase programme

The asset-backed securities purchase programme (ABSPP) started on 21 November 2014.

The ABSPP helps banks to diversify funding sources and stimulates the issuance of new securities. Asset-backed securities can help banks to fulfil their main role: providing credit to the real economy. For instance, securitising loans and selling them can provide banks with the necessary funds to provide new lending to the real economy. This will further ease funding and credit conditions and help the transmission of monetary policy.

ABSPP holdings*
€ mil. 25,035
Date 12 January 2018
* end of week, at amortised cost
Breakdown of ABSPP holdings*
Market: Primary Secondary
€ mil. * 11,186 13,829
Share * 44.72% 55.28%
Date 31 December 2017
* end of month, at amortised cost

History of cumulative purchases breakdowns under the ABSPP

Covered bond purchase programme 3

On 20 October 2014 the Eurosystem started to buy covered bonds under a third covered bond purchase programme (CBPP3).

The measure helps to enhance the functioning of the monetary policy transmission mechanism, supports financing conditions in the euro area, facilitates credit provision to the real economy and generates positive spillovers to other markets.

Securities purchased under the covered bond purchase programmes (CBPP1, CBPP2 and CBPP3) are made available for securities lending by a number of Eurosystem central banks.

CBPP3 holdings*
€ mil. 242,389
Date 12 January 2018
* end of week, at amortised cost
Breakdown of CBPP3 holdings*
Market: Primary Secondary
€ mil. * 81,091 159,597
Share * 33.69% 66.31%
Date 31 December 2017
* end of month, at amortised cost

History of cumulative purchases breakdowns under the CBPP3

APP redemptions
Expected monthly redemption amounts for the asset purchase programme (APP) over a rolling 12-month horizon
€ million ABSPP CBPP3 CSPP PSPP APP
Dec 17 * 618 1,527 0 120 2,265
Jan 18 702 2,870 165 4,584 8,321
Feb 18 847 1,326 294 6,299 8,766
Mar 18 666 1,241 240 3,930 6,077
Apr 18 510 1,133 87 22,600 24,330
May 18 402 1,135 520 6,190 8,247
Jun 18 644 3,202 475 11,553 15,874
Jul 18 735 1,617 345 16,064 18,761
Aug 18 534 475 137 854 2,000
Sep 18 608 1,465 717 6,005 8,795
Oct 18 609 1,652 238 21,126 23,625
Nov 18 314 983 895 4,804 6,996
Dec 18 699 1,137 257 12,288 14,381
*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.

History of APP redemptions

Principal redemptions on securities purchased under the PSPP are reinvested by the Eurosystem in a flexible and timely manner in the month they fall due, on a best effort basis, or in the subsequent two months, if warranted by market liquidity conditions. The published monthly net purchase volumes per jurisdiction may therefore fluctuate owing to the timing of these reinvestments.

During the period of net asset purchases, PSPP principal redemptions will be reinvested in the jurisdiction in which the maturing bond was issued. As regards the private sector programmes, there is no strict allocation of the total volume to jurisdictions, but purchases are broadly oriented towards market capitalisation of eligible securities, while also paying due consideration to market conditions. Therefore, for the private sector programmes, the maturing amount in a jurisdiction in a specific month does not necessarily determine the amount to be purchased in this jurisdiction during the month.

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 details 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*
€ mil. 89,134
Date 12 January 2018
* at amortised cost
Covered bond purchase programme
CBPP holdings*
€ mil. 6,065
Date 12 January 2018
* at amortised cost

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 intends to hold the assets bought under this programme until maturity.

For 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
CBPP2 holdings*
€ mil. 4,744
Date 12 January 2018
* at amortised cost

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 intends to hold the assets bought under this programme until maturity.

Breakdown of CBPP2 holdings*
Market Primary Secondary
€ mil. * 6,015 10,375
Share * 36.70% 63.30%
Date 31 October 2012
* at amortised cost

For details, see ECB decision of 3 November 2011 (ECB/2011/17) and the press release ECB announces details of its new covered bond purchase programme (CBPP2) (3 November 2011).

History of cumulative purchases breakdowns under the CBPP2