ECB says it bought 113 million euros in bonds

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The European Central Bank said Monday that its government bond purchases decreased to just 113 million euros ($146 million) last week, the lowest amount since late October.

Total accumulated purchases of public debt from the commercial banks under the controversial Securities Markets Programme that began in May now amount to 74 billion euros, an ECB statement added.

On January 3, the bank reported weekly purchases of 164 million euros, and the decline suggests that ECB governors seek to limit the operations as much as possible.

The ECB has assumed greater risk through its purchases of bonds issued by countries like Greece, Ireland and Portugal as part of an overall European Union-International Monetary Fund plan to stabilise financial markets.

ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet has pressed eurozone governments to get their finances in order and the bank announced on December 16 the biggest capital increase in its 12-year history to protect against potential losses.

© 2011 AFP

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