10 May 2010

ECB to Buy Bonds In Secondary Market to 'Address Severe Tensions In Certain Market Segments'

The limit to the ability of a central bank to create money is the acceptability of the underlying bonds and currency.

When a central bank turns to buying the bonds in order to support their price, or more properly the interest rate paid, this is the beginning of the end, the point at which the national currency becomes little more than a Ponzi scheme, creating more money to pay the interest on the old money.

Now both the US Federal Reserve the Bank of England, and the ECB have fallen into this. We are seeing the controlled demolition of the fiat currencies of the developed world. This will resolve itself no later than 2018, and probably before that. For that is the outer bound of when the US will be unable to service its debt without at least a selective default, a draconian diktat, or resort to hyperinflation.

ECB to Intervene in Bond Market to Fight Euro Crisis
By Gabi Thesing, Jana Randow and Simon Kennedy

May 10 (Bloomberg) -- The European Central Bank said it will buy government and private bonds as part of an historic bid to stave off a sovereign-debt crisis that threatens to destroy the euro.

The ECB wants “to address severe tensions in certain market segments which are hampering the monetary policy transmission mechanism and thereby the effective conduct of monetary policy,” the central bank said in a statement today, minutes after European finance ministers announced a loan package worth almost $1 trillion to staunch the market turmoil.

The central bank said it will intervene in “those market segments which are dysfunctional,” signaling it views the recent surge in some of the region’s bond yields as unjustified. Policy makers are seeking to restore confidence in markets and protect the economy from a double-dip recession. The bank said the moves won’t affect monetary policy and the resulting liquidity will be reabsorbed.

“They are not cranking up the printing presses,” said James Nixon, co-chief European economist at Societe Generale SA in London. “This is a much more targeted, surgical approach. They buy the duff stuff that no one in the market will touch...”

...While the ECB cannot buy bonds directly from governments, the euro’s founding treaty doesn’t ban it from doing so in the secondary market, providing the bank with some room to execute today’s plan. The bank’s council will decide the scope of the intervention.

Bundesbank President Axel Weber said May 5 that the threat of contagion from Greece’s fiscal crisis didn’t merit “using every means.” Without referring specifically to bond buying, he said “measures that damage the fundamental principles of the currency union and the trust of the people would be mistaken and more expensive for the economy in the longer term...”