As previewed last night, consensus was expecting for the ECB to boost its emergency QE PEPP program by €500BN. So perhaps not to risk disappointing markets, moments ago the Central Bank announced that it would not only expand the PEPP by more than expected €600BN to €1,350BN, but extended the program to "at least the end of June 2021." Contrary to some expectations, the ECB did not follow the Fed in buying junk bonds (for now).
The ECB said it did so to "further ease the general monetary policy stance, supporting funding conditions in the real economy, especially for businesses and households."
The rest of today's announcement was largely in line with rates kept unchanged, with the ECB noting that it would reinvest PEPP principal payment proceeds until at least the end of 2022, adding that "the future roll-off of the PEPP portfolio will be managed to avoid interference with the appropriate monetary stance."
Here is what the ECB announced:
- The envelope for the pandemic emergency purchase programme (PEPP) will be increased by €600 billion to a total of €1,350 billion. In response to the pandemic-related downward revision to inflation over the projection horizon, the PEPP expansion will further ease the general monetary policy stance, supporting funding conditions in the real economy, especially for businesses and households. The purchases will continue to be conducted in a flexible manner over time, across asset classes and among jurisdictions. This allows the Governing Council to effectively stave off risks to the smooth transmission of monetary policy.
- The horizon for net purchases under the PEPP will be extended to at least the end of June 2021. In any case, the Governing Council will conduct net asset purchases under the PEPP until it judges that the coronavirus crisis phase is over.
- The maturing principal payments from securities purchased under the PEPP will be reinvested until at least the end of 2022. In any case, the future roll-off of the PEPP portfolio will be managed to avoid interference with the appropriate monetary stance.
- Net purchases under the asset purchase programme (APP) will continue at a monthly pace of €20 billion, together with the purchases under the additional €120 billion temporary envelope until the end of the year. The Governing Council continues to expect monthly net asset purchases under the APP to run for as long as necessary to reinforce the accommodative impact of its policy rates, and to end shortly before it starts raising the key ECB interest rates.
- Reinvestments of the principal payments from maturing securities purchased under the APP will continue, in full, for an extended period of time past the date when the Governing Council starts raising the key ECB interest rates, and in any case for as long as necessary to maintain favourable liquidity conditions and an ample degree of monetary accommodation.
- The interest rate on the main refinancing operations and the interest rates on the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility will remain unchanged at 0.00%, 0.25% and -0.50% respectively. The Governing Council expects the key ECB interest rates to remain at their present or lower levels until it has seen the inflation outlook robustly converge to a level sufficiently close to, but below, 2% within its projection horizon, and such convergence has been consistently reflected in underlying inflation dynamics.
In response to this massive money printing the Euro... jumped.
And now attention turns to Lagarde in 45 minutes for the press conference.