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

  • third covered bond purchase programme (CBPP3)
  • asset-backed securities purchase programme (ABSPP)
  • public sector purchase programme (PSPP)
  • corporate sector purchase programme (CSPP)

Monthly net purchases in public and private sector securities amount to €80 billion on average (from March 2015 until March 2016 this average monthly figure was €60 billion). From April 2017 they will amount to €60 billion on average.

They are intended to be carried out until the end of 2017 and in any case 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.

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* February 2017 23,471 212,579 67,337 1,394,205 1,697,592
Monthly net purchases 724 2,434 8,314 68,814 80,286
Quarter-end amortisation adjustment -5 -567 -195 -5,367 -6,134
Holdings* March 2017 24,190 214,446 75,455 1,457,652 1,771,743
*At amortized 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 will be made available for securities lending to support market liquidity and collateral availability in the market as of 18 July 2016.

CSPP holdings*
€ mil. 81,044
Date 21 April 2017
* end of week, at amortised cost
Breakdown of CSPP holdings*
Market: Primary Secondary
€ mil. * 10,546 64,909
Share * 13.98% 86.02%
Date 31 March 2017
* end of month, at amortised cost

History of cumulative purchase breakdowns under the CSPP

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.

PSPP holdings*
€ mil. 1,497,884
Date 21 April 2017
* end of week, at amortised cost
Breakdown of debt securities under the PSPP
as at
31 March 2017
Monthly net purchases* Cumulative monthly net purchases* Remaining Weighted Average Maturity (WAM) in years
Austria 1,958 39,014 9.31
Belgium 2,398 49,092 10.14
Cyprus 0 248 4.59
Germany 16,977 355,594 7.65
Estonia 0 65 1.29
Spain 8,459 175,947 8.82
Finland 730 23,526 7.26
France 13,707 282,373 7.64
Ireland 565 20,231 8.92
Italy 11,890 245,582 8.72
Lithuania 75 2,473 6.79
Luxembourg 67 1,893 5.54
Latvia 65 1,474 7.66
Malta 30 915 11.30
The Netherlands 3,869 79,540 7.83
Portugal 663 26,617 9.19
Slovenia 150 5,397 9.20
Slovakia 294 9,084 8.09
Supranationals 6,919 162,150 7.36
Total 68,814 1,481,216 8.11
* Book value in euro million.
Note: Figures may not add up due to rounding.
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.
Principal payments on securities purchased under the PSPP are reinvested by the Eurosystem in a flexible and timely manner. The monthly purchase volumes are reported net of reinvestments. The first principal payments occurred in March 2017.

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. 24,331
Date 21 April 2017
* end of week, at amortised cost
Breakdown of ABSPP holdings*
Market: Primary Secondary
€ mil. * 9,125 15,065
Share * 37.72% 62.28%
Date 31 March 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. 216,114
Date 21 April 2017
* end of week, at amortised cost
Breakdown of CBPP3 holdings*
Market: Primary Secondary
€ mil. * 68,505 145,941
Share * 31.95% 68.05%
Date 31 March 2017
* end of month, at amortised cost

History of cumulative purchases breakdowns under the CBPP3

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. 98,443
Date 21 April 2017
* at amortised cost
Covered bond purchase programme
CBPP holdings*
€ mil. 9,264
Date 21 April 2017
* 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. 5,942
Date 21 April 2017
* 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