ECB Caught Manipulating Italian Bond Market for Political Purposes

Heading into the second half of May, just as the political turbulence in Italy was rising as investors took fright at 5-Star’s attempts to form a coalition government with the anti-immigrant League party, and what was initially a trickle of selling in Italian BTPs became a full-blown liquidation panic, some Italians wondered if the Mario Draghi wasn’t using a page from the Silvio Berlusconi playbook and allowing Italian bonds to tumble without ECB intervention, simply to “pressure” the domestic political process against the formation of a populist, Euroskeptic cabinet, something European Budget Commissioner, Guenther Oettinger scandalously suggested last week when he said that “the negative development of the markets will lead Italians not to vote much longer for the populists.”

Indeed, as we noted last week, several politicians suggested at the end of May that the ECB was exacerbating the sharp market moves: “It would be useful to know how much debt the Bank of Italy and the ECB have bought compared to the norm? Have purchases gone down?” tweeted Carla Ruocco, a Five Star MP, at the peak of the market turmoil last week….

As it turns out, skeptical Italians was proven right because as the ECB revealed when it disclosed its PSPP bond purchases for the month of May when “lo spread” between the yield on Italian and German government bonds blew out to its highest level for five years – leading some of the country’s politicians to hit out at perceived “bullying” from the bond markets – the central bank sharply scaled back the proportion of Italian purchases relative to all other bonds purchased under QE in the month of May, which according to the FT is an “admission that could fuel suspicions of the new Eurosceptic Italian government that the central bank is seeking to punish it.”

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-06-04/italians-angry-after-ecb-admits-it-slashed-purchases-italian-debt-during-recent

Of course the “fed” never engages in such chicanery.   Except pretty much every 4 years or so …

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.