Asset purchase programmes

The expanded asset purchase programme (APP) adds the purchase programme for public sector securities to the existing private sector asset purchase programmes to address the risks of a too prolonged period of low inflation. The Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP) was established in response to a specific, extraordinary and acute economic crisis, which could jeopardise the objective of price stability and the proper functioning of the monetary policy transmission mechanism.

The various purchase programmes

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

The Governing Council of the ECB decided the following at an extraordinary meeting on the evening of Wednesday 18 March:

  • To launch a new temporary asset purchase programme of private and public sector securities to counter the serious risks to the monetary policy transmission mechanism and the outlook for the euro area posed by the outbreak and escalating diffusion of the coronavirus, COVID-19.

This new Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP) will have an overall envelope of €750 billion. Purchases will be conducted until the end of 2020 and will include all the asset categories eligible under the existing asset purchase programme (APP).

For the purchases of public sector securities, the benchmark allocation across jurisdictions will continue to be the capital key of the national central banks. At the same time, purchases under the new PEPP will be conducted in a flexible manner. This allows for fluctuations in the distribution of purchase flows over time, across asset classes and among jurisdictions.

A waiver of the eligibility requirements for securities issued by the Greek government will be granted for purchases under PEPP.

The Governing Council will terminate net asset purchases under PEPP once it judges that the coronavirus Covid-19 crisis phase is over, but in any case not before the end of the year.

  • To expand the range of eligible assets under the corporate sector purchase programme (CSPP) to non-financial commercial paper, making all commercial papers of sufficient credit quality eligible for purchase under CSPP.
  • To ease the collateral standards by adjusting the main risk parameters of the collateral framework. In particular, we will expand the scope of Additional Credit Claims (ACC) to include claims related to the financing of the corporate sector. This will ensure that counterparties can continue to make full use of the Eurosystem’s refinancing operations. 

The Governing Council of the ECB is committed to playing its role in supporting all citizens of the euro area through this extremely challenging time. To that end, the ECB will ensure that all sectors of the economy can benefit from supportive financing conditions that enable them to absorb this shock. This applies equally to families, firms, banks and governments.

The Governing Council will do everything necessary within its mandate. The Governing Council is fully prepared to increase the size of its asset purchase programmes and adjust their composition, by as much as necessary and for as long as needed. It will explore all options and all contingencies to support the economy through this shock.

To the extent that some self-imposed limits might hamper action that the ECB is required to take in order to fulfil its mandate, the Governing Council will consider revising them to the extent necessary to make its action proportionate to the risks that we face. The ECB will not tolerate any risks to the smooth transmission of its monetary policy in all jurisdictions of the euro area.

This decision of 18 March follows the decision of the ECB's Governing Council on 12 March 2020 to launch a temporary package of additional net asset purchases amounting to €120 billion to ensure strong contribution from private sector debt purchase programmes.

In combination with the existing asset purchase programme (APP), this will support favourable financing conditions for the real economy in times of increased uncertainty. The Governing Council is still expecting these net asset purchases to continue as long as necessary to reinforce the accommodative impact of its policy rates, and to end shortly before it starts raising the ECB’s key interest rates.

Between April 2016 and March 2017, the average monthly purchase amount for the existing APP was €80 billion, while from April 2017 to the end of December 2017, it worked out at €60 billion.

From January to September 2018 inclusive, average monthly purchases amounted to €30 billion, and from October to the end of December 2018, the corresponding figure was €15 billion. Since November 2019, the average monthly purchase amount for the existing APP is €20 billion.           

Full reinvestment of the principal payments from securities purchased under the APP which have reached maturity, will continue, and for an extended period of time past the moment the Governing Council starts raising the key ECB interest rates, and in any case for as long as necessary to maintain favourable liquidity conditions and an ample degree of monetary accommodation.

Further information about the Eurosystem’s asset purchase programmes can be found on the ECB’s website by clicking on this link: Asset purchase programmes.

Securities lending of assets purchased under the APP and PEPP

As announced at the ECB Governing Council meetings on 5 March 2015 and 1 June 2016, the assets acquired under the public sector purchase programme (PSPP) and the corporate sector purchase programme (CSPP) will be released in a decentralised manner for securities lending operations to support bond and repo market liquidity. Assets acquired via the pandemic emergency purchase programme (PEPP) are also available for securities lending operations, under the same conditions as the asset purchase programme (APP). For further information on the Eurosystem’s general framework for lending operations, see: Securities lending of holdings under the asset purchase programme (APP) and pandemic emergency purchase programme (PEPP).

Securities lending under the PSPP and the PEPP (public sector)

The National Bank of Belgium will lend the public sector securities purchased under the PSPP and the PEPP (see list of available ISIN codes in appendix) via bilateral repurchasing operations (repos) or bilateral repos combined with bilateral reverse repos with counterparties that have concluded a contract with the NBB for repos in euro.

Further information can be found in the following documents:

Securities lending under the CSPP and the PEPP (corporate sector)

Also under the CSPP and the PEPP, the National Bank of Belgium will offer the possibility to lend corporate securities via bilateral repos combined with bilateral reverse repos with counterparties that have a contract with the NBB for repos. Alongside this bilateral lending, the NBB has decided to take part in Euroclear Bank SA/NV’s Automatic Securities Lending and Borrowing Programme.

Further information can be found in the following documents:

Contact

Market participants can contact NBB’s Front Office desk via e-mail at forex@nbb.be or by phone on +32 2 221 4971.