What is the "Asset Purchase Programme (APP)"?

The ECB’sAsset Purchase Programme (APP) is part of a package of non-standard monetary policy measures that includes targeted longer-term refinancing operations initiated in mid-2014 to support the monetary policy transmission mechanism and provide the amount of policy accommodation needed to ensure price stability.

APP net purchases, by program

Between October 2014 and December 2018, the Eurosystem conducted net securities purchases under one or more asset purchase programs. During the net asset purchase phase, the monthly purchase pace averaged:

  • €60 billion from March 2015 to March 2016
  • €80 billion from April 2016 to March 2017
  • €60 billion from April 2017 to December 2017
  • €30 billion from January 2018 to September 2018
  • €15 billion from October 2018 to December 2018

Between January 2019 and October 2019, the Eurosystem fully reinvested the principal payments from maturing securities held in the APP portfolios. The Governing Council aimed to maintain the size of its cumulative net purchases under each constituent program of the APP at their respective levels as of December 2018.

On 12 September 2019, the ECB Governing Council decided that “net purchases will be restarted under the Governing Council’s asset purchase program (APP) at a monthly pace of €20 billion as from 1 November 2019. The Governing Council expects them to run for as long as necessary to reinforce the accommodative impact of its policy rates, and to end shortly before it starts raising the key ECB interest rates.”

Note: The average monthly APP targets were first set by the ECB Governing Council at the beginning of the PSPP in March 2015. The additional envelope of EUR 120 bn decided by the Governing Council on 12 March 2020 has been linearized for illustration in this chart. It will be implemented in full according to the established principles with additional flexibility.

In addition, reinvestments of the principal payments from maturing securities purchased under the APP will continue, in full, for an extended period of time past the date on which the Governing Council begins to raise the key ECB interest rates, and in any case for as long as necessary to maintain favorable liquidity conditions and an ample degree of monetary accommodation.

The table presents the Eurosystem holdings at the end of the month and a breakdown in the change of Eurosystem holdings.