May 4, 2020 / 3:30 PM / 25 days ago

UPDATE 1-Italy, France dominate ECB bond purchases in April

 (Adds data on government bonds)
    FRANKFURT, May 4 (Reuters) - Italy and France dominated the
European Central Bank's purchases of government bonds in April,
data showed on Monday, revealing the lengths the ECB was
prepared to go to support indebted governments as they struggle
with the coronavirus pandemic.
    Just over 40% of the 26.8 billion euros ($29.24 billion)
worth of assets bought by ECB under its Public Sector Purchase
Programme (PSPP) went to Italy, followed by France at 31%, the
data, which excludes bonds issued by supra-national agencies,
showed.
    These were major deviations from the country quotas the ECB
was meant to follow, which give France 21% and Italy 17% after
excluding Greece, which is not part of the programme.
    The PSPP accounted for less than a quarter of the
record-breaking 137.5 billion euros worth of securities hoovered
up by the ECB in April in its efforts to stem the pandemic's
fallout. 
    Its newly launched Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme
(PEPP), for which the ECB won't publish a break-down for another
month, took the lion's share at 75%.
    Analysts expect the ECB to continue buying Italian bonds
under PEPP even if Italy is downgraded to junk by the four major
rating agencies, pushing it out of the PSPP.
    
    TABLE:
    
 PSPP ex     April        % of TOT
 supranat    purchases   
             in EUR bln  
 Italy       10.919      40.8
 France      8.325       31.1
 Germany     0.628       2.3
 Others      6.887       25.7
 TOT         26.759      100
 
     

($1 = 0.9167 euros)

 (Reporting By Francesco Canepa; editing by Grant McCool)
  
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