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ECB Interventions in Distressed Sovereign Debt Markets: The Case of Greek Bonds

Author

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  • Christoph Trebesch
  • Jeromin Zettelmeyer

Abstract

We study central bank interventions in times of severe distress (mid-2010), using a unique bond-level dataset of ECB purchases of Greek sovereign debt. ECB bond buying had a large impact on the price of short and medium maturity bonds, resulting in a remarkable “twist” of the Greek yield curve. However, the effects were limited to those sovereign bonds actually bought. We find little evidence for positive effects on market quality, or spillovers to close substitute bonds, CDS markets, or corporate bonds. Hence, our findings attest to the power of central bank intervention in times of crisis, but also suggest that in highly distressed situations, this power may not extend beyond those assets actually purchased.This paper analyses the determinants and effects of ECB interventions in times of severe distress. We focus on the Greek government bond market in mid-2010 and use a unique new dataset to show, for the first time, what type of bonds the ECB bought. We then explore the short-term effects of ECB purchases at the bond-level. The results show a large impact of the interventions on the targeted instruments. Bonds bought by the ECB see a much steeper drop in yields than those not bought. This is consistent with theories of “local supply effects” in segmented or illiquid bond markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Christoph Trebesch & Jeromin Zettelmeyer, 2014. "ECB Interventions in Distressed Sovereign Debt Markets: The Case of Greek Bonds," CESifo Working Paper Series 4731, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4731
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    File URL: https://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp4731.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Afonso, António & Arghyrou, Michael G. & Gadea, María Dolores & Kontonikas, Alexandros, 2018. "“Whatever it takes” to resolve the European sovereign debt crisis? Bond pricing regime switches and monetary policy effects," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 1-30.
    2. Matteo Crosignani & Miguel Faria-e-Castro & Luís Fonseca, 2016. "The (unintended?) consequences of the largest liquidity injection ever," ESRB Working Paper Series 31, European Systemic Risk Board.
    3. repec:cup:jfinqa:v:53:y:2018:i:01:p:243-268_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Chamon, Marcos & Schumacher, Julian & Trebesch, Christoph, 2018. "Foreign-law bonds: Can they reduce sovereign borrowing costs?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 164-179.
    5. Falagiarda, Matteo & Reitz, Stefan, 2015. "Announcements of ECB unconventional programs: Implications for the sovereign spreads of stressed euro area countries," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 276-295.
    6. Romanos Priftis & Lukas Vogel, 2016. "The Portfolio Balance Mechanism and QE in the Euro Area," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 84(S1), pages 84-105, September.
    7. Krishnamurthy, Arvind & Nagel, Stefan & Vissing-Jorgensen, Annette, 2017. "ECB Policies Involving Government Bond Purchases: Impact and Channels," Research Papers repec:ecl:stabus:3578, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    8. Pablo G. Bortz, 2015. "The Greek "Rescue": Where Did the Money Go? An Analysis," Working Papers Series 29, Institute for New Economic Thinking.
    9. W. Arrata & B. Nguyen, 2017. "Price impact of bond supply shocks: Evidence from the Eurosystem's asset purchase program," Working papers 623, Banque de France.
    10. Waibel Michael, 2016. "Eurobonds: Legal Design Features," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(3), pages 635-657, November.
    11. Dubecq, Simon & Monfort, Alain & Renne, Jean-Paul & Roussellet, Guillaume, 2016. "Credit and liquidity in interbank rates: A quadratic approach," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 29-46.
    12. Jakob Korbinian Eberl, 2016. "The Collateral Framework of the Eurosystem and Its Fiscal Implications," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 69, April.
    13. De Pooter, Michiel & Martin, Robert F. & Pruitt, Seth, 2018. "The Liquidity Effects of Official Bond Market Intervention," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 53(1), pages 243-268, February.
    14. Afonso, António & Arghyrou, Michael G. & Gadea, María Dolores & Kontonikas, Alexandros, 2018. "“Whatever it takes” to resolve the European sovereign debt crisis? Bond pricing regime switches and monetary policy effects," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 1-30.
    15. Eser, Fabian & Schwaab, Bernd, 2016. "Evaluating the impact of unconventional monetary policy measures: Empirical evidence from the ECB׳s Securities Markets Programme," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(1), pages 147-167.
    16. repec:eee:jimfin:v:75:y:2017:i:c:p:14-31 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    central bank; asset purchases; securities markets programme; Eurozone crisis; sovereign risk; market segmentation;

    JEL classification:

    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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