Focus on ECB’s Greek Bonds

Central bank said to oppose restructuring of its holdings of Greek debt.

The European Central Bank remains firmly opposed to any restructuring of its Greek bond holdings as the debt was acquired for monetary policy purposes, according to two people familiar with the Governing Council’s stance.

While the ECB faces pressure to join private-sector investors in taking losses on Greek debt, the central bank sees this as potentially damaging to confidence in the institution if it were to take part, said the people, who declined to be identified because the matter is confidential.

‘Costly’ Move

Asking private investors to take a loss on Greek holdings has proved “costly for the euro zone” as it sends a message that “euro zone sovereign debt should no longer be considered a safe asset with the implicit promise that it would be repaid in full,” ECB Governing Council member Athanasios Orphanides wrote in the Financial Times on Jan. 5, calling for the plan to be jettisoned.

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