The European Central Bank has purchased almost €1.5 trillion of securities since it started buying bonds in March 2015. Most of these are government bonds but starting in June 2016, the ECB began purchasing corporate debt as well, and now holds €50 billion of it.
The logic behind the corporate sector purchase programme (CSPP) was an attempt to jumpstart eurozone growth by lowering the borrowing costs of non-financial companies, encouraging them to invest more in the real economy.
According to ECB president Mario Draghi, the CSPP has already worked its magic. “Corporate bond issuance increased markedly”, he told a press conference in September. “The corporate bond purchase programme has been a success beyond our expectations.”