ECB starts new bond purchases


The European Central Bank (ECB) has begun buying so-called "covered bonds" on the markets in a well-flagged move to step up its looser monetary policy, an ECB spokesman said yesterday.

The bonds consist of debt secured on bundles of home loans.

French and Spanish bonds are understood to be among the first securities acquired, but the programme is not targeted at specific countries.

The purchases are part of a policy announced earlier in the month, which is aimed at pumping cash into the ailing Euro area economy.

The plan will be extended next month with purchases of so-called asset-backed securities (ABS), debts traded on the markets that are backed by property of other assets.