The European Central Bank (ECB) on Wednesday allotted a total of 529.5 billion euros (713. 3 billion U.S. dollars) in a second three-year long term refinancing operation (LTRO).
A total of 800 banks bid for the loans and an amount of 529,530.81 million euros has been awarded as a result, according to the ECB.
The loans will be settled on Thursday and the maturity date is Feb. 26, 2015. It is the second time that the ECB has opened its floodgate of cash to offer such kind of loans.
The total amount of cheap loans provided by the ECB has surpassed 1.1 trillion euros.
In a bid to support bank lending in the euro area, the governing council of the ECB on Dec. 8, 2011 decided to conduct two LTROs with a maturity of three years.
The decision made by the ECB to provide the three-year LTRO came at time when credit became tightened in the euro zone financial markets and the bond yields of some debt-restrained countries remained at high levels.
The first operation was carried out by the ECB on Dec. 21 when more than 500 euro area banks borrowed over 489 billion euros.
Bond yields of some countries, especially Italy and Spain, fell markedly since the beginning of this year and the main stock indexes in Europe, namely the DAX, FTSE 100 and CAC40 gained.
Mario Draghi, president of the ECB, said the first three-year loans have helped avert a major credit crunch.
Speaking at a news conference on Feb. 9, Draghi said the loans are made to help the real economy. However, he said the use of the loans is a business decision, which will be made by banks themselves.
The ECB has suspended its controversial bond buying program for two consecutive weeks. Wang Jidong, a senior manager with the Frankfurt Branch of Bank of Communications, said that some Italian and Spanish banks bought the bonds of their governments with the loans from the ECB.
Meanwhile, some banks are hesitant to take money from the ECB for fear that it could possibly ruin their reputation. Josef Ackermann, Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Bank, had reportedly shunned the ECB loans in its first tender in December.
Draghi stressed on Feb. 9 that the three-year refinancing operations are non-standard monetary policy measures of a temporary nature.
"Because of their size and complexity, one would certainly not want to pre-commit to making them a permanent feature of our monetary policy," he said, adding that once the financing conditions in banking markets return to normal, the operation will no longer be necessary.
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MEXICO CITY, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- G20 finance ministers and central bankers meet here Friday to seek solutions to the eurozone debt crisis.
Discussions will focus on whether to pump more money into the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but consensus can hardly be reached during the two-day meetings. Full story
Greece adopts austerity plan as international pressure mounts
ATHENS/BRUSSELS, Feb. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Greek parliament passed late Tuesday a fresh package of spending cuts to secure the release of a second bailout package to avoid a bankruptcy in March, deputy speaker Grigoris Niotis announced.
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