ECB to lift Cyprus waiver for QE
The Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) decided to lift the waiver for Cyprus, regarding its bondbuying programme, after a meeting on March 16.
The waiver, according to which Cyprus could participate in the ECB’s quantitative easing programme without meeting the minimum credit quality thresholds, will be lifted by April 1. It had allowed the ECB to accept Cyprus government bonds as guarantees to provide liquidity to the banking institutions. The ECB had waived the minimum credit rating requirement for Cyprus, but the waiver was conditional on the country’s being in a programme. After the end of the bailout the ECB will have to stop buying Cypriot government bonds.
The minimum credit quality thresholds will once again apply for Cyprus from 1 April, meaning that Cyprus would have to return to the investment grade of international credit houses in order to benefit from the ECB’s quantitative easing programme. The sovereign rating are currently three notches below investment grade. Under the programme, the ECB has bought Cypriot government bonds amounting to EUR 285 mln.
The job vacancy rate in the EU28 was 1.7% in the fourth quarter of 2015, up from 1.6% in the previous quarter and the fourth quarter of 2014. In the euro area and the EU28, the job vacancy rate in the fourth quarter of 2015 was 1.2% in industry and construction, and 2.0% in services.
Among the member states for which comparable data are available, the highest job vacancy rates in the fourth quarter of 2015 were recorded in Germany and the U.K. (both 2.6%), the Czech Republic (2.4%) and Belgium (2.2%), and the lowest in Poland (0.5%), Spain and Portugal (both 0.6%).