ECB steps into bond market to shore up debt-hit eurozone
The European Central Bank (ECB) said Monday that it had once again stepped into the European government debt market to support cash-strapped members of the 17-state eurozone, reported dpa.
The Frankfurt-based ECB said it purchased a total 14.3 billion euros (20.6 billion dollars) in government securities last week. This brought the total amount of bonds bought by the ECB under its Securities Market Programme (SMP) to 110.5 billion euros.
The bank does not provide any details of its bond purchases but analysts believe that the ECB has been supporting both Italian and Spanish debt markets.
The two nations' debt markets have come under pressure in recent weeks amid concerns that they could fall victim to the debt crisis gripping parts of the eurozone.
Underlying the continuing market uncertainty caused by the crisis was a fresh batch of bleak economic news out of Greece, which has been at the centre of the financial upheaval since it emerged about 19 months ago.
On the weekend, Athens called on European leaders to step up moves to implement last month's agreement on revamping the eurozone bailout fund and throwing an additional financial lifeline to Greece.
The cash-strapped eurozone state also warned that it might not be able to meet its deficit-cutting targets and that the nation's recession could be deeper than previously forecast.
This came amid signs of fresh tensions in the eurozone over the 109-billion-euro second rescue package for Greece, which is due to be pieced together next month.
About five eurozone states, led by Finland, have been calling for Greece to provide collateral before agreeing to the second bailout out.
Still, the euro remained relatively stable, hovering around the 1.44-dollar-mark in late trading.