The European Central Bank slowed debt purchases under its stimulus programme to an all-time low last month amid light summer volumes on financial markets, data showed on Monday.
The ECB is winding down its bond-buying programme and plans to stop it in December after nearly four years, provided that inflation in the euro zone does not take a turn for the worse.
The central bank bought just 24.8 billion euro ($29 billion) worth of debt in August, when many sellers in Europe are away on holiday. It was the smallest amount since the programme started in March 2015.
Private sector debt, which includes corporate and covered bonds as well as loan bundles known as asset-backed securities, accounted for 9 percent of the total, compared to between 16 and 30 percent in the previous seven months.
Specifically, ECB purchases of corporate debt totalled just 1.5 billion euros, a record low, and its holdings of asset-backed securities shrank by half a billion euros.
Among bonds issued by the public sector, the ECB bought 6 percent more Spanish debt and 1 percent more German debt than its rules dictate, while France and Italy were underbought.
In a sharp reduction from the previous six months, the average maturity of the government bonds bought by the ECB was 9.7 years. ($1 = 0.8613 euros)
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