ECB Ready to Start Buying Government Bonds

Countries must meet ECB conditions, but those aren’t necessarily ‘punitive,’ Draghi says.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the bank is ready to start buying government bonds as soon as the necessary conditions are fulfilled, putting the onus on Spain to decide whether it wants a bailout.

The ECB is ready to undertake Outright Monetary Transactions “once all the prerequisites are in place,” Draghi said today at a press conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia, after policy makers left the benchmark rate at a historic low of 0.75 percent. The plan has “helped to alleviate tensions over the past few weeks” and “now it’s really in the hands of governments.”

Monti Caution

The yield on Spain’s 10-year government bond rose 3 basis points to 5.79. Three months ago, the yield was above 7 percent. The yield on Italy’s 10-year security fell 1 basis point to 5.076 percent.

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