ECB Kept Pace of Pandemic Bond-Buying Little Changed Last Week

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The European Central Bank maintained the elevated pace of its pandemic bond-buying as its strives to deliver on a promise to contain yields to protect the economy.

Net purchases settled last week climbed by 19 billion euros ($22.4 billion), slightly below the 21.1 billion euros recorded in the previous week. Policy makers decided to increase buying earlier this month after a global sell-off on the back of U.S. fiscal support raised concern that investors were getting ahead of themselves and pushing up euro-zone yields more than warranted.

Europe’s recovery has been muted by a slow vaccine rollout that has meant extended restrictions, and drawn-out plans for joint fiscal stimulus.

Prospects for the European Union’s 750 billion-euro recovery fund were given a jolt on Friday when Germany’s top court put the law authorizing the nation’s participation in the program on hold last while it weighs an emergency request to block the legislation.

The European Commission has already signaled that most national spending plans need to be reworked. ECB chief economist Philip Lane said on Saturday that it’s “essential” for fiscal policy to counter the pandemic shock and promote a “timely” recovery.

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