FRANKFURT—The European Central Bank purchased just over €63 billion ($68.75 billion) in public and private debt securities last month under its three-month-old quantitative easing program, according to ECB data released Monday.
The May figure is slightly higher than the €60 billion monthly purchase target that the ECB has set for the program, which is intended to run through at least September 2016. Last month, ECB executive board member Benoît Cœuré said the central bank would offset an expected summertime lull in market activity by “moderately front-loading its purchase activity in May and June.”
Of the €63 billion in bond purchases last month, around €52 billion were of public-sector debt, which includes primarily government bonds but also debt issued by European Union institutions.
The ECB bought just over €10 billion in covered bank bonds, and another €1.4 billion in asset backed securities. The ECB updates its bond purchases each Monday.
The bond program, known as quantitative easing or QE, was announced in January and launched in early March. The aim is to raise the money supply and spur borrowing and spending to push annual inflation back toward the ECB’s target near 2%. Consumer prices were flat on an annual basis in April after being negative in late 2014 and the start of this year. Consumer price figures for May are due for release Tuesday and are expected by economists to show a slight rise.