Sweden’s Central Bank Is Reviewing Shape of Bond Buying Program

(Bloomberg) -- Sweden’s central bank is reviewing the potential for extending its government bond buying program into next year as it gauges the effect on the market, according to Deputy Governor Martin Floden.

“My assessment today is that we could extend the program if we judge that to be appropriate and necessary,” Floden said in an interview after a speech in London on Friday. “But again it’s an ongoing evaluation and possibly the indications we get from the market, and judging the efficiency of doing this and doing even more, it’s possible that we will revise that during the fall.”

Speculation is mounting about whether the Riksbank is nearing the limits of how much more government debt it can buy without hurting liquidity too much. The bank will have bought about 40 percent of outstanding bonds when its current program expires at the end of the year in a bid to boost inflation that’s evaded its 2 percent target for almost half a decade.

According to Floden, there are still no big signs that liquidity on the government bond market has been hurt from the Riksbank purchases.

“The positive effects have been I think surprisingly large relative to what I thought when we started and so far also we haven’t seen large negative side-effects,” he said. Still, “it’s clear that we are now a big actor on the government bond market in Sweden.”

The Riksbank could expand into buying mortgage, corporate and municipal bonds should it hit the ceiling for government bond purchases, Floden said.

Much depends on what happens abroad, in particular at the European Central Bank which yesterday said it may continue asset buying beyond March 2017. That could jeopardize the Riksbank’s ambition to hit its 2 percent inflation target late next year by strengthening the Swedish currency too much versus the euro.

“Obviously what happens in the euro-zone is very important for the Swedish economy,” he said. “It affects us and that’s something that we look closely to and is one of the very important factors that pushes Swedish monetary policy, but it’s not the only one and it’s not necessarily so that we always respond to what the ECB is doing.”