Thursday 2 June 2016 12:59 pm

ECB will start buying corporate bonds as part of €80bn a month package next week

The European Central Bank (ECB) will start buying corporate bonds as part of its quantitative easing package next week, it was confirmed today, as the Bank kept monetary policy on hold.

The central bank, headed by president Mario Draghi, left its headline interest rates unmoved, with its deposit facility at minus 0.4 per cent and the size of its quantitative easing package at €80bn (£62bn) a month.

In March, when the ECB upped its monthly purchase of bonds from €60bn to €80bn, it also said it would extend the programme to include corporate bonds in a bid to push yields even further down across the single currency bloc, prompt lending and spark inflation.

Today, the bank confirmed that programme will start next Wednesday.

"On 8 June, the Eurosystem will start making purchases under its corporate sector purchase programme," a statement from the ECB read.

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The new targeted longer-term refinancing operations (TLTRO II) will begin a few weeks later, on 22 June.

"It is no surprise at all that the ECB left policy on hold today. With the latest policy measures only announced in March and some, like the corporate bond purchases and new TLTROs, not even implemented yet, the ECB is firmly in wait and see mode for now," said Jonathan Loynes, chief European economist at Capital Economics.

Further details on the programme, along with an update on the Bank's latest thinking on interest rates, inflation, Greece and Brexit, will be provided in Mario Draghi's press conference which kicks off at 1.30pm.