Citigroup Says ECB’s Boost to Pandemic Bond Buying Isn’t Enough

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(Bloomberg) -- Even after boosting its pandemic bond buying program, European Central Bank’s stimulus is falling short of the euro area’s funding needs.

Citigroup Inc. estimate that the ECB’s 600-billion-euro ($682 billion) increase to the program will probably be about 150 billion euros below the bloc’s increase in debt supply, according to an emailed note to clients. If the imbalance is exacerbated, the risk is that borrowing costs for some of the euro area’s most-indebted nations, particularly Italy, may rise, just as countries need to be able to spend money uninhibited.

Citigroup Says ECB’s Boost to Pandemic Bond Buying Isn’t Enough

That’s because the ECB’s backstop has been a key driver for demand of European debt. So while European sovereigns have stepped up bond sales, orderbooks have been massive. Ireland, Spain and Greece raised more than 20 billion euros of bonds on Tuesday, and together with the U.K.’s offering, they received orders of almost $300 billion.

Italy announced on Monday the sale of a new bond aimed at domestic investors as it seeks to raise the cash required, and Germany and Finland are in the market today. France’s Treasury announced that it would raise its 2020 debt issuance by over 30 billion euros.

Europe’s borrowing needs this year are enormous as governments cushion the region’s economy for what could be the steepest recession since World War II. Bloomberg Intelligence estimates that euro area nations will have to sell at least 1.2 trillion euros of bonds this year, but that figure may rise.

On top of that, the supply of short-dated debt instruments is also set to top 1 trillion euros, according to Citigroup. Meanwhile, the ECB’s pandemic bond buying program is 1.35 trillion euros.

“Such supply volumes do leave marks in the market,” wrote ING Groep NV strategists led by Padhraic Garvey. “The debt tsunami continues.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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