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Taking stock of the Eurosystem’s asset purchase programme after the end of net asset purchases

Prepared by Felix Hammermann, Kieran Leonard, Stefano Nardelli and Julian von Landesberger

Following the Governing Council’s decision in December 2018 to end net asset purchases under the Eurosystem’s asset purchase programme (APP), this article reviews the implementation and effects of the asset purchases. The APP has proved to be an adaptable and effective instrument to ease monetary and financial conditions, foster economic recovery, counteract disinflationary pressures and anchor inflation expectations, thereby supporting a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation towards price stability. The APP has been part of a package of policy measures together with negative interest rates on the deposit facility, forward guidance and targeted longer-term refinancing operations (TLTROs), jointly creating synergies that have enhanced the effectiveness of each of the package’s individual components. From an implementation viewpoint, the Eurosystem ensured that asset purchases were conducted smoothly and flexibly by striving for market neutrality and mitigating unintended side effects for market functioning.

Whereas net asset purchases have come to an end, principal payments from maturing securities purchased under the APP will continue to be reinvested as this, together with enhanced forward guidance, provides the monetary accommodation that the Governing Council judges to be required for the continued sustained convergence of inflation to levels that are below, but close to, 2% over the medium term.

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