ECB launches 750 billion euro emergency bond purchase scheme

FRANKFURT (REUTERS) – The European Central Bank launched a 750 billion euro (S$1.18 trillion) emergency bond purchase programme on Wednesday (March 18) to push down borrowing costs in a bloc struggling with the economic fallout of coronavirus, it said in a statement.

“Purchases will be conducted until the end of 2020 and will include all the asset categories eligible under the existing asset purchase programme,” the ECB said after an emergency meeting late on Wednesday, less than a week after policymakers approved fresh stimulus measures.

The scheme will also include debt from Greece, which has so far been shut out of ECB bond purchases due to its low credit rating.

The scheme, which will end when the “crisis phase” of the epidemic is over, will also include non-financial commercial paper with sufficient credit quality, the ECB said.

 The ECB intends to use all tools to defend the euro as “there are no limits” to its commitment to the single currency, ECB President Christine Lagarde said early on Thursday.

“Extraordinary times require extraordinary action,” Lagarde tweeted. “There are no limits to our commitment to the euro. We are determined to use the full potential of our tools, within our mandate.” 

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