Sept 4 (Reuters) - Plans to launch an asset-backed securities (ABS) and covered bond purchase programme worth up to 500 billion euros are on the table at Thursday’s European Central Bank policy meeting, people familiar with the discussions say.
ECB President Mario Draghi will likely announce such a programme at his news conference unless it comes up against strong opposition at the Governing Council’s policy meeting.
The programme would have a duration of three years and comprise both ABS and covered bond purchases. The ECB could begin buying the assets this year, the people familiar with the discussions told Reuters.
The ECB declined to comment.
ECB President Mario Draghi said in Jackson Hole on Aug. 22 that the ECB’s preparations for an ABS purchase programme were “fast moving forward and we expect that it should contribute to further credit easing”.
The ECB has been developing such a programme with a view to stimulating the ABS market and offering smaller businesses an alternative source of funding.
However, bankers and regulators have cast doubt on reviving Europe’s repackaged debt market to fund economic recovery, saying it will take years and hinge on a re-invention of the sector rather than quick regulatory tweaks.
ECB Executive Board member Benoit Coeure said last month that European governments may have to support Europe’s market for securitised debt by issuing guarantees to make it a successful alternative source of funding to bank loans. (Editing by Mike Peacock)