Eurosystem balance sheet soars to €7 trillion

European Central Bank HQ in Frankfurt

The European Central Bank (ECB) has published its audited financial statements for 2020 showing that its profit for the year was €1.643 billion, down from €2.366 billion in 2019.

“The €722 million decrease compared to the previous year was mainly due to lower net interest income on foreign reserve assets and on securities held for monetary policy purposes,” said the ECB.

The profit is distributed in full to the 19 national central banks of the euro zone.

Pandemic stimulus programs saw the balance sheet of the entire Eurosystem, comprising the Frankfurt-based ECB and the 19 national central banks of the euro zone, soar to just under €7 trillion — rising to €6.979 trillion from €4.671 trillion.

“The growth compared to the previous year was mainly due to the increase in Eurosystem refinancing operations, as a result of the third series of targeted longer-term refinancing operations (TLTRO III), and the securities purchased under the PEPP (emergency purchase programme) and the APP (asset purchase programme.)

The total size of the ECB’s balance sheet increased by €112 billion to €569 billion.

“This increase was mainly due to the securities purchased under the pandemic emergency purchase programme (PEPP) and the asset purchase programme (APP),” said the ECB.

ECB total staff costs increased to €646 million from €566 million.

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