The European Central Bank stepped up bond purchases last week as the debt crisis worsened.
The Frankfurt-based ECB said it settled 8.6 billion euros ($11.5 billion) of bond purchases in the week through Nov. 25, up from 8 billion euros the previous week. The central bank will take seven-day term deposits tomorrow to absorb the 203.5 billion euros of liquidity created since its bond program started on May 10 last year, a practice it employs to ensure the purchases don’t fuel inflation.
Yields rose across the 17-nation euro region last week as investors grew more concerned that policy makers won’t be able to stem the sovereign debt crisis. Italian 10-year yields topped 7 percent and Germany’s borrowing costs also increased after it failed to get bids for 35 percent of the 10-year bonds it offered for sale.
ECB officials have pushed back against investors and governments who want them to backstop the currency bloc and combat the crisis by significantly increasingly their bond- market intervention. The ECB says it is up to governments to solve the crisis, and asking the central bank to rescue states would damage its independence and credibility.
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