María Martínez / Sonsoles Castillo
Tuesday 15 November 2016, by Carlos San Juan
At the press conference, the attention was on questions about the APPS. Mr. Draghi highlighted that the programme is “intended” (emphasising this wording as a powerful signal) to be in place until the end of September 2016. Moreover, this is proceeding smoothly and is having an impact on economic activity. In response to a question about whether the ECB is having problems in finding enough assets to meet its monthly goal of EUR60bn of debt purchases — as in some jurisdictions an increasing share of European debt is yielding below -0.2%, the threshold for the ECB buying bonds - Mr Draghi downplayed these worries of potential scarcity of bonds, saying that they are a "little exaggerated" as the bank does not see any problems. However, he stated that the APPs could be flexible  enough if circumstances require; although he made clear that the reduction of the deposit facility rate is not an option. Regarding the speculation about an earlier-than-expected end to the programme, Mr Draghi expressed surprise on this discussion as the programme has only been in place for a month. He added on various occasions that “it´s premature” to change a programme that is working well. Regarding Greece, when Mr Draghi was asked about the possibility of an extension of the emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) to Greek banks, he said that it will continue to approve ELA while Greek banks remain solvent and they have adequate collateral, but he remarked that the ball is now in the Greek government’s court. To reinstate the waiver for Greek government bonds (admitting Greek bonds as collateral for monetary operations again) he clarified that they have to see “a credible prospect for a successful conclusion” of the Greek economic reforms. Moreover, he added that haircuts on Greek debt as collateral were mentioned during the policy meeting, but were not discussed. He said that the GC will return to this question “in due time”. As we expected, the ECB remained firm on the asset purchase plan, as it is at the early stage of the implementation when the (critical) signaling effect is expected to be more powerful, and considering the persistent downside risks on both growth and inflation. Moreover, it will be premature to give any signal on other directions.
 Today, the ECB added new agencies to the list of those that qualify to sell it bonds in its APPS. See Implementation aspects of the public sector purchase programme (PSPP)