Andrea Zaghini, 30 January 2020

In June 2016, the ECB launched its corporate sector purchase programme, through which it purchased corporate bonds in an effort to improve the financing conditions of euro area firms. This column argues that the programme was successful. In particular, by increasing prices and reducing yields in the targeted bond market segment, it encouraged investors to shift their investments towards similar but somewhat riskier bonds. This reduced borrowing costs for many firms, including those whose bonds were not eligible for direct purchase by the ECB. 

Alex Chinco, Vyacheslav Fos, 14 May 2019

Noise makes financial markets possible. The column investigates an overlooked source of noise, namely, that in modern markets it is computationally infeasible to predict how even simple, rational trading rules interact to create net demand for a stock. For example, empirical data suggest that we can predict whether a stock will be affected by an exchange-traded fund portfolio rebalancing cascade, but not how.

Giovanna Bua, Peter G Dunne, 10 August 2017

By the end of April 2017, the Eurosystem's balance sheet contained €1.8 trillion of assets, mainly as a consequence of asset purchase programmes. This column analyses the portfolio rebalancing effects of the ECB’s programme. The original holders of the assets eligible for purchase by the ECB mainly purchased bonds of deposit-taking corporations outside the Eurozone. Investment funds and their investors did not rebalance significantly toward Eurozone equities or corporate bonds. While exchange rate and cost of capital effects are positive outcomes from the programme, local rebalancing effects appear to be non-existent.

Sayuri Shirai, 31 July 2017

Portfolio rebalancing through large-scale asset purchases is one of the major transmission channels under the zero lower bound. This column assesses whether the channel has been effective in Japan, focusing in turn on financial institutions, firms, and households. Japanese firms and households are notoriously risk averse, limiting the effectiveness of the portfolio rebalancing channel. These results suggest that more drastic structural reforms and growth strategies are needed.

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