ECB Slows Asset Purchases

The European Central Bank slowed asset purchases last week, underlining the challenge for policy makers trying to expand the institution’s balance sheet.

The ECB settled 233 million euros ($286 million) of asset-backed-securities purchases in the week ended Dec. 5, after spending 368 million euros in the first week of the program. The Frankfurt-based central bank also bought 3.126 billion euros of covered bonds, down from 5.078 billion euros the previous week.

ECB President Mario Draghi has held out the prospect of yet more stimulus to boost the balance sheet when policy makers review current measures early next year. The ECB is preparing broad-based asset purchases, including government bonds, with any decision at its Jan. 22 meeting linked to incoming information, two officials said.


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