Riga (AFP) - The ECB expects to begin buying private-sector debt instruments within days as part of its drive to beef up the bank's assets and channel money into the economy, a senior bank official said Friday.
"We are now in an implementation phase and will start... within the next days, to purchase the assets foreseen under our new asset purchase programmes," said ECB board member Benoit Coeure.
The purchases aim "to steer the balance sheet of the ECB towards higher levels and to improve transmission to the real economy," he told reporters in Latvia's capital, adding that the bank will publish new economic forecasts for the single-currency bloc in December.
The European Central Bank, which manages how funds are fed into the eurozone economy, is promising an extra cash lifeline for Greek banks if the government sticks to its bailout programme, Athens's central bank said Thursday.
A raft of grim eurozone data this week alarmed financial markets and placed both Germany's doctrine of budgetary rigour and the ECB's monetary policy in the hot seat.
A seemingly never-ending stream of gloomy numbers sent the stock markets into a tailspin and exposed the fault lines in economic thinking across the 18-country euro area.
The ECB's asset purchase programme, which will cover bank bonds and asset-backed securities, is "very much in this implementation phase but meanwhile we are monitoring, following, trying to understand the numbers and there will be a forecast in December," Coeure added.