ECB buys fewer eurozone bonds

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The European Central Bank said Monday it bought 6.65 billion euros ($9.64 billion) of government bonds in the past week, down sharply after it intervened heavily early this month to ease the market pressure on Italy and Spain.

In the week to Monday, August 22, the ECB bought 14.29 billion euros in government bonds after 22 billion euros in the previous week,

The ECB, as usual, did not specify which government bonds it had bought.

The ECB has bought 115.5 billion euros in eurozone government bonds since it first began such operations early last year as part of efforts to ease debt strains in the eurozone which pushed Italian and Spanish borrowing rates to unsustainable levels.

On Monday, ECB head Jean Claude Trichet made a new call to EU governments to implement measures agreed at an emergency eurozone summit in July designed to resolve the debt crisis.

In one of the measures, a newly created eurozone rescue fund is meant to take over from the ECB the responsibility of intervening in the secondary bond market so as to take the pressure off beleaguered debtor nations.

© 2011 AFP

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