The European Central Bank announced on Friday that 278 Eurozone banks would repay 137.2 billion euro borrowed in December 2011 under the 3-year Long Term Repo Operation (LTRO). The first early paybacks would take place on January 30.
This is a larger amount of early repayments than the market consensus of 100 billion euros and approximately 30% of the December 2011 loans, “but it continues to leave open the question of how much will be repaid when the next €529.5bn becomes eligible for repayment on February 27th (to be announced Feb 22),” as Richard Kelly, Head of European Rates and FX Research at TD Securities points out. The expert predicts that it is “likely to be less than today’s figure, perhaps around the €75-100bn range for a total repayment of €200-225bn, slightly about our initial €150bn estimates.”
The greater-than-expected repayment caused the euro to break decisively above the 1.3400 mark and reach an 11-month high of 1.3463 before easing a tad.
Mario Draghi assures OMT will remain active as long as necessary
ECB head Mario Draghi said today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that the sovereign bond purchase program (OMT) would remain active for “as long as necessary.” He also added that the Eurozone will benefit from ECB’s accommodative policy.
Draghi affirmed that the LTRO program had helped avoid a credit crunch and contributed to restoring a relative calm in the Eurozone. The ECB chief also emphasized the importance of the implementation of structural reforms and said that he expects the Eurozone to recover by the end of the year.
Finally, Draghi went over the measures introduced by the ECB throughout 2012 and signalized that the challenge for this year would be to overcome the fragmentation which still differentiates financial and capital markets and causes inequality in financing.