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By Aimee Donnellan
LONDON, Oct 20 (IFR) - The European Central Bank began buying covered bonds in the secondary market on Monday, as well as looking for offers on asset-backed securities, marking the launch of its highly anticipated bond purchase programme.
On Friday, the ECB announced it, along with eurozone national central banks, would begin purchasing chunks of secured bank debt as it seeks to stimulate bank lending in the eurozone.
Market sources thought that peripheral banks, where yields are highest, could be the main target.
However, on Monday, one banker said the ECB is buying "everything within its mandate" but in a relatively small sizes and mainly bonds with short maturities.
"The ECB is looking through traders' inventories and is buying up small amounts of debt. They're enquiring about French and Belgian debt in pretty small sizes of around 5m," said another banker. (Reporting by Aimee Donnellan; editing by Alex Chambers)