Frankjfort (EUBusiness): The European Central Bank said Monday it had sharply reduced purchases of government debt last week, a signal that some calm might have returned to a crucial financial market. Follow up:
Follow up:The ECB said it settled 603 million euros' (793 million dollars) worth of government bonds, down sharply from 2.677 billion one week earlier.
The latest amount represented the fewest purchases of sovereign debt under the ECB's controversial Securities Markets Programme since late October, when they virtually ceased for three weeks.
The prior amount was the highest level since the programme's first weeks amid a Greek crisis in May and represented central bank efforts to help buy time for the Irish government to resolve its own crisis.
The ECB has since warned governments that it does not intend to assume all of the risk that eurozone members could default on their debts.
The bank last week unveiled the biggest capital increase in its history to protect against potential losses. Read more.....