In ORANGE Collocations & Expressions
European Central Bank president Mario Draghi is expected to announce the details of a bond-buying programme to help keep down borrowing costs of crisis-hit countries later on Thursday. Leaks suggest it will involve unlimited purchases of government debt that will be “sterilised” to assuage concerns about printing money.
The bond-buying scheme is rumoured to be called the “outright monetary transactions”, with a shorthand title of OMT.
The life of a bond, at the end of which it will be repaid in full. A bond’s maturity can be as short as a year to as long as 100 years.
This refers to how likely you are to be repaid if a bond issuer goes bankrupt. Bondholders with seniority over others will be paid back before other bondholders. There was some concern that the ECB would demand seniority over other bondholders when it undertook the bond-buying scheme, but leaks now suggest otherwise.
Was the ECB governing council united in backing Thursday’s decision, or was there opposition? Bundesbank head Jens Weidmann has spoken out against a bond-buying programme before – is he now onside? Was the ECB split over interest rate levels, or were the decisions unanimous? Draghi’s answer to these questions (which will surely come up) could be crucial.
A Latin phrase meaning “equal footing”. In the bond markets, this means bondholders will be treated the same if a bond issuer goes bankrupt. Any purchases the ECB makes as part of its bond-buying programme are expected to be pari passu with other bondholders.
The ECB asks banks for collateral in return for taking out cheap loans. If they relax collateral requirements, they can accept a wider range of assets as collateral from banks. They have already relaxed these requirements, and can now accept everything from bundles of car loans to mortgage-backed securities.
This is the way the ECB would keep the Germans happy, by imposing conditions on receiving assistance from the ECB; so, if the ECB helps keep a country’s borrowing costs low by buying up its bonds, that country may have to agree to some strict austerity. Without conditionality it would be easier for the ECB to unilaterally intervene.
This refers to the risk that you will buy bonds denominated in euros but could ultimately be paid back in lire or drachma (or deutschmarks) if the country taking out the debt leaves the eurozone before the end of the bond’s life.
Exactly what it says on the tin. Expectations are that the ECB will not put a limit on its bond buying. This is seen to be an improvement on the previous bond-buying programme, which was limited in size and therefore lacked credibility in the markets. If other traders do not believe the ECB has the firepower (or inclination) to buy enough bonds to bring down yields, they may continue to bet on them rising.
This makes sure the money supply does not increase as a result of the bond-buying programme. When the ECB buys bonds, it is injecting liquidity into the financial system, effectively creating new money. To counteract that, the ECB has in the past followed bond purchases by subsequently draining an equal amount of liquidity from the system. It does this at the weekly deposit tender by increasing the rates it will pay commercial banks to deposit money with the ECB. The idea is that this will encourage banks to deposit more money with the ECB, thereby taking it out of the system.
Rumour had it that the ECB would set a yield cap on certain countries’ government bonds. This would mean if the yield looked like it would break through that level, the ECB would start buying bonds to push prices higher and bring yields back dow