These Bonds Should Make ECB Hawks Apoplectic With Rage

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With the economic recovery well under way in Europe the European Central Bank has cut its government bond purchases by two-thirds. Fair enough. However, it is not reining in its involvement in company debt, Bloomberg News reported in a commentary. The securities now comprise about 20 percent of monthly purchases, up from 7 percent at the start of the program in mid-2016. The total amount could top 200 billion euros ($244 billion) before quantitative easing ends. If it had any self-knowledge the ECB should be aware of the problems it's creating. The fact that, by its purchases, it has soaked up all the liquidity in the secondary market and has had to turn to the primary market should be a warning sign. The central bank's growing involvement in company borrowing should be causing ructions among the hawks on the Governing Council, who seem alive to the dangers of being late in withdrawing stimulus. Yet their silence is deafening. Through QE the ECB has invested in over 230 individual companies, and with an average maturity of 5.6 years it's impossible to see them as being exposed only in the short term. Read more.