No Bazooka As ECB Backtracks: Draghi Won't Pursue Yield Caps, To Sterilize Bond Buys In SMP Continuation

Tyler Durden's picture

Previously, the ECB inverse Operation Twist, aka Operation "Tsiwt" was merely speculated. Today, it is now confirmed, as Draghi admits that the entire Bazooka will simply be a sterilised purchase of short-term bonds (although not entirely without the selling of lonf-term bonds - the market will do that for them).

In what can only be interpreted as a huge disappointment for the ECB and Draghi yielding to German demands, Bloomberg has leaked what likely will be the final plan of the ECB tomorrow, which contrary to previously rumors stating that the ECB will pursue yield caps, or even just buy bonds on an unsterilized basis, appears to be a huge dud:

  • ECB BOND PLAN SAID TO HAVE BROAD COUNCIL SUPPORT - but not unanimous, as Germany again objects

The keyword above is highlighted: sterilized, which simply means for those who are unaware, such as all the algos taking the EURUSD higher, that the ECB's entire overhyped plan is nothing more than a continuation of the Securities Market Program, or the SMP, which has been dormant for over 25 weeks, and which was deactivated because it did not work! Because sterilized means no new money enters the system, something which for Europe is unacceptable considering Spain alone is now seeing $100 billion in outflows each month. 

It also means this is merely a flow-targeting program, and one which does nothing to actually stimulate inflation with new money creation.

And another question: how can bond buying be "unlimited" if the ECB is by definition limited by its €3 trillion balance sheet since the transaction will be sterilized and the size of the overall assets will not increase? Does this also imply that the ECB will terminate its 3 year €1 trillion LTRO program prematurely? And if not, the total capacity for sterilized bbond buying, when one removes the various liquidity providing MROs and existing SMP purchases, is, well, zero!

Bottom line: if this is indeed the final shape of the ECB "bazooka" tomorrow the market will be hugely disappointed. And yes, it will send the steepness of PIIGS bonds to records if only for a few weeks, but all short-term bond buying will achieve is selling in long-term bonds. In other words, expect to see the Spanish 2s10s in the quadruple digits the fulcrum country of the Eurozone project quielty implodes.

From BBG:

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s bond-buying proposal involves unlimited purchases of government debt that will be sterilized to assuage concerns about printing money, two central bank officials briefed on the plan said.


Under the blueprint, which may be called “Monetary Outright Transactions,” the ECB would refrain from setting a public cap on yields, according to the people, and a third official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The plan will only focus on government bonds rather than a broader range of assets and will target short-dated maturities of up to about three years, two of the people said.


An ECB spokesman referred to an Aug. 20 statement in which the Frankfurt-based central bank said it was misleading to report on decisions that haven’t been taken yet.


Draghi told the European Parliament this week that the ECB needs to intervene in bond markets to wrest back control of interest rates in the fragmented euro-area economy and ensure the survival of the common currency. Policy makers will start deliberating on the plan later today and Draghi will announce whether it has been agreed to at a press conference tomorrow.


Bundesbank Opposition


The people said policy makers are likely to adopt the proposal, with Germany’s Bundesbank remaining the sole objector. At the same time, one said Draghi’s relationship with Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann remains relaxed, and the two men only disagree on whether risks inherent in the bond plan are likely to materialize.


To sterilize the bond purchases, the ECB will remove from the system elsewhere the same amount of money it spends, ensuring the program has a neutral impact on the money supply.


At the moment, the ECB mops up the impact of its mothballed bond-purchase program by offering banks weekly term deposits that currently return 0.01 percent.

Read more here

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fonzannoon's picture

how can something sterilized be unlimited? don't they need new money for it to be unlimited/

GetZeeGold's picture



Don't worry about that......we've got new money coming out the wazzoo!


LongSoupLine's picture

crap!  that shit is money?!

GetZeeGold's picture



Believe it or not Amigo.


LongSoupLine's picture

Damn it!!...I just flushed our entire national debt this morning after tacos last night.

HelluvaEngineer's picture

No free moniez make giant squid angry...ANGRY!

GetZeeGold's picture



That's not good new considering that 800 pound gorilla in the room doesn't look very happy either.


MeetTozter's picture

If Spain is losing, who is winning?  This is a zero sum game, no?

GetZeeGold's picture



Did NOT see it coming!

LongSoupLine's picture's hot potato toss-back to the Bernank.


Fire up them thar' Heely-copters!

DormRoom's picture

Draghi may not want to inflame sentiment going into the  German Constitutional Court decision.  Bernanke is a lame duck until the Fiscal Cliff gets resolved.

Dr. No's picture

Sterilized is a medical term for taking the punch out of pudding.

TwoShortPlanks's picture

Draghi you dirty Dawg!

"To sterilize...the ECB will remove from the system elsewhere the same amount of money it spends, ensuring the program has a neutral impact on the money supply."

And if you jack up Gold prices continuously while monetizing it (ie. leasing it to your local Central Bank) you'll have all the ELSEWHERE you can handle...get it Bitchez? Gold as collateral, Dodd-Frank, Central Bank buying, Fed Gold audit, BIS Tier1 rumors...join those dots!

It's been decided then; the game ahead is none other than the monetization of Gold across all endless series of Gold monetization currency drops on Bonds while at the same time pulling down the spread between Bank Assets and Bank Reserves by increasing the amount of currency in circulation while having a "NEUTRAL IMPACT on the money supply"...Central Bank monetization of Gold Reserves offsetting Base Money can have a neutral impact, and you can keep the offset even with Base Money expansion by increases in the Gold price, Bitchez!

And Gold is as sterile as it comes, fuckers!

ALL-ABOARD, it's time for Tyler's Fukushima 3 Hands!!!!

Gandalf6900's picture

Where is Bazooka Joe?

TJ00's picture

This is almost as much fun as watching the old Soviet Politburo, without the purges, ice axes, Gulags etc.

Boilermaker's picture

So, it's the Poitburo without all the fun.  Great.

Bennyandthejets's picture

I am not joking when I ask, what does sterilizing mean?  I don't understand how one can buy bonds with no new money created, unless one is taking money from another designated program to do so.  How does this work?  Thank you!

GetZeeGold's picture



I am not joking


We believe you!

Bennyandthejets's picture

Does this come from moneys designated for unemployment?!  

GetZeeGold's picture



Would you like it to?


fonzannoon's picture

Dude you are cracking me up this morning. I hope you are in charge of a lot of people somewhere.

Terp's picture

They dump other trash from their books to keep them at the already bloated 3 trillion.


I bet those greek bonds will sell like warm buns /s

theorist's picture

There are a number of ways that sterilisation can work:

1.) ECB purchases the bonds of say Spain. In return it sells the same quantity of core country bonds/bills it may hav on its balance sheet. Remember that a Central Bank does own short dated goivernment paper in order to conduct monetary policy, ie. keepign rates where they have argeted them.

2.) Where the Central Bank is out of securities it will offer interest for a term on the money it has paid to the bank in order to keep it held with the ECB. Remember when a Central bank purchases a bond from a bank, all it does is credit the account that the bank has with the Central Bank. This money may then be lent out by the bank. By offering interest on deposits with the Cnetral Bank, it effectively ties up the bank's cash.

Hope this is clear.

Bennyandthejets's picture

Thank you!

1)  Makes sense.  CB figures either the market complies and does it's job for it, or it does the dirty work until they run out of short term securities to trade with.

2)  Does the bank have a choice?  If the ECB buys the bond from Bank A, can it force Bank A to keep its cash with the ECB for an indeterminate time?  

buzzsaw99's picture

as per usual drahgi's huge oral orifice is writing checks hiz puny ass can't cash

Boilermaker's picture

Look at the defense of 1,400 SPX....

My god.  At least TRY to make it LOOK like legit market action.

Wow, that's pathetic.

fonzannoon's picture

when do futures begin to reflect this astounding news? I would have thought immediately...

Boilermaker's picture

As soon as Ben takes his thumb off the other side of the scale.

Bennyandthejets's picture

That's how traders used to make money, the disconnect between perception and reality.  

falak pema's picture

wait till the next great leap forward, this is a page out of Mao's guerilla warfare! 

Keep the markets guessing. 

Here is the MSM version of the next sleight of hand : 

Details Of ECB Bond Plan - Business Insider

Boilermaker's picture

CNBC BREAKING NEWSSecond-Quarter Productivity Rises Faster Than Expected, Up 2.2% (click for more)

Yea, that'll offset the epic bullshit going down.  Golly.

tuttisaluti's picture

Draghi, not the Vuvuzela, the Bazooka we say!

lizzy36's picture

So these ECB bond buys under SMP program still rank as senior to other buyers right?

So problem NOT solved ?

GetZeeGold's picture



Well WTF.....we totally had it fixed yesterday!


OK.....who's screwing around here?


gojam's picture

Still time for 5 counter and counter counter statements before we get the bottom line.

Sterilizing = EUthanasia

TrustWho's picture

I disagree.

Sterilized means buy Spain, Greece, Italy.....bonds and SELL Germany, Finland, France (?),......bonds. Remember, Dragi wants to equalize yields across Europe.

stika's picture

what will they sell to offset the buying? Their dirty pants on ebay?

AynRandFan's picture

Words, just words.  Greece never runs out of liquidity and never has to pay back all of what it borrows.  Europe just strangles slowly.

petolo's picture

Within 30 days we,ll all be on helicopter watch and cashing in our foodstamps.

pig no 3's picture

in plain english........does that mean: Short or Long or......just get away ASAP

AynRandFan's picture

EUR/USD spiked up on the news -- hope is back.

Boilermaker's picture

If you're in the lucky 0.00001% that has the pre-scripted playbook, then PLAY BALL.

If not, go to the casino.  You'll get free drinks while you get robbed.  It'll still hurt but at least you'll be hammered.

Boilermaker's picture

ES actually being forced positive....

I hope the wheat harvest is bountiful and chocolate rations are increased also!!

monopoly's picture

This will accomplish absolutely nothing. Plan B in the works I am sure.

ISEEIT's picture

"unlimited yet sterilized" WTF?